Monday, December 31, 2012

NYE...meh

I've never really cared for NYE.  There always seems to be so much hype and then...letdown.  I think it all stems from me being invited to the "popular" kids NYE party for Y2K.  It was absolutely boring topped off with my mom being 1 hour late to pick me up as usual.  Going out always seemed so expensive and crowded and staying in always ensures that I'm in bed by 10.  At least the staying in thing saves a bit of money.  Maybe in a few years we'll give it a shot.  This year Liam and I will be enjoying a bottle of sparkling wine as soon as the kids go to bed, celebrating new years in whatever time zone is up next and then passing out before Boo starts her nightly 4 hour "I just want to play" session.

She's literally just been waking up and staring at me.  If she's in the cot, she'll stand up and then just start crying and screaming, put her in the bed and she just sits up, rolls around, shakes her head from side to side and smacks the bed.  She will stay absolutely still for a good 15 min, so I think she's asleep and I can put her back in the cot, she'll start talking or blowing raspberries again.  So my days are pretty much shot while I try and get a few hours of shut eye while Melody is here.  If not I'd be a babbling basket case accidentally toasting CDs instead of bread for breakfast.

I have a few not so much resolutions, but plans for the new year.  Maybe I'll write about them, not sure yet.  But I do need to actually get to work on our 2013 calendar before I blink and it's already June!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

After Christmas Recap

My gift: New diaper bag!
Liam's Gift: A thoughtful card
Z's Gifts: play "chicken" kitchen, Little People plane + unopened birthday presents
Boo's Gift: Rock-a-stack

Z freaking loves her "chicken" as she has dubbed the kitchen.  She enjoys cooking us food and trying to sleep on top of it.  She wasn't so sure about what all these toys were doing in the house, but once we assured her she was free to play with them she loved it.

We had a crazy huge dinner with only 5 friends over.  The stuffing recipe I used may have been used for a small army, but it was/is delicious.  I made the mistake of not confirming arrival times, so we had one group show at 2 (1 hr earlier than expected) and I had to call the other, who thought we weren't eating until 5 not 3.  But once that was all sorted out, we dug in, the kids played and we watched A Christmas Story and Monsters Inc, while digesting.  Z got a nice egg on her head when chasing around one of the columns in the living room.  Boo decided she wanted to match and fell out of the bed onto the tile floor at 2am.  Awesome.  Thankfully Boo doesn't have a bruise and Z's isn't too bad after playing the "ice on my head, ice on your head" game for an hour.  It was a weird Christmas since we weren't around family and 90% of our friends were also away, but it was still good.  I'm just used to mania, so it was definitely a different type of celebration.  Today, we're all recovering from no naps/terrible sleep last night and I'm glad Liam only has one day of work left before the weekend.  So tired...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

iPhone screen and a little green chair

My iPhone screen is on the fritz.  It keeps fading from black to white and I can't see anything on it.  I can touch on things to answer a call or turn off my alarm or unlock it just because I remember where the keys are, but that's it.  It is really annoying.  Today I have another interview, which was rescheduled from yesterday.  The interviewer said that this way we would get more time to really talk and wouldn't be rushed.  Seems like this would be a good sign.  My interview earlier in the week was punctuated by the hilarious phrase of "we really want to get moving on this quickly because the woman being replaced could leave at any moment, so I'll be contacting people about second round interviews in mid-January."  Wow, that's really getting a move on it for a position posted in September.  I was hoping for good employment news by Christmas, but it probably won't happen.  So here's hoping for better news in January.

I'm also not really feeling all that Christmasy.  We decorated, the presents are wrapped, pandora Christmas station is on and that's about it.  We're planning our Christmas dinner with friends, but it just doesn't feel like Christmas.  It could have something to do with the fact that it's in the mid-70s, but I think it's also that none of the usual Christmas craziness is happening.  We're not going Christmas shopping at the stores, there isn't any family in town and it just doesn't feel like it.  We've done cookie decorating, gingerbread house making, and tonight we're having a teddy bear tea with Santa, so maybe that will get me more in the Christmas spirit.  It's only 5 days away, but it feels like it could be 6 months away.

And for the green chair bit of the title, Boo is using it to push herself around the house when the furniture to cruise on is not where the action is.  It's a green plastic IKEA chair and she just pulls herself up onto it and starts pushing it around while walking.  She's not the best at turning, so sometimes we have to move her off of walls, the dining room table or the big columns/pillars going on in the living room, but she's definitely trying to keep up with big sister!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vegetable Eater!

Looks like we managed to get Z's non-veggie eating derailed for a bit.  She used to LOVE veggies.  She would gladly eat broccoli, carrots, green beans, you name it.  Then she just stopped, she would refuse it and not touch a bite.  Well last night we finally decided it was enough.  After a little threatening, no more sausage until you eat some broccoli and even throwing in the possibility of watching a little more of Toy Story before bed wasn't enough.  This is when Liam took over and put them both on the same fork with his salmon.  Veggie first then fish.  And she ate it!  I was so happy I gave her a high 5 and gave a "yay!" That became the veggie eating cure for the night.  After each piece, she got a high 5 and a "wow, doesn't that taste so good? Good job!"  Now I'm not usually one for praise for things you should be doing anyway, but the fact that we got some broccoli and potato into her after a long veggie drought it was enough to park that thought for a while.

Boo is happily eating anything and everything we give her.  She's at 3 meals per day.  I went crazy with the baby food making (carrots, squash, green beans, broccoli, applesauce), so she has a good selection including oatmeal.  Chicken and maybe salmon will be next.  But she gets ravenous.  I'm still feeding her 4-5 times per day and she's getting her fill of milk for sure, but she's also all about food.  I think it's the fact that she's moving so much now.  Her new adventure is to try and stand up without holding onto anything once she pulls herself up on the couch or chair.  It generally ends in .5 seconds of standing and has helped her perfect her butt fall.  The other fun thing is I think she's finally getting the whole sign language thing.  She will sign more every so often, especially when she wants more food, but we're still doing a few other key signs to hopefully get more out of her in the future.

Another phone interview today! And I was contacted by a recruiter I emailed in November about a possible position.  So yeah...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Seriously? Is someone messing with me?

Another interview/ghost application from July being revived.  I came back from lunch with a friend and dropping off my thank you cards for my interview yesterday and there was an email in my inbox asking if I was still interested in a position I applied for back in July.  I mean seriously?! I feel like this is all a big joke people are playing on me.  Like wait until she really starts freaking out and then we will all email her at once!  I'm definitely not complaining, but it would have been nice, if they had all told me they would hold off on further contact until Dec, so I could have enjoyed the past 6 months a little more.  Hoping that one of these leads will pan out!

Monday, December 10, 2012

1 Down 1 To Go

The first interview for job No. 1 went really well.  It seemed more like the interviewer was trying to sell the position to me and letting me know that it wasn't going to be super super fun all of the time, which I definitely already knew.  Jan through April is going to be a bit crazy, which is understandable and I assured her I would be ready for it.  So there will be another interview before an offer.  I'm pretty sure I'll get a second round, but would definitely be completely bummed if I didn't get it.  The HR person I met with after said that they had gotten hundreds of applications for this position, so it was a really good sign that I made it to this point.  Fingers crossed.  Also a bonus, I was informed that the position would come with an professional development/conference leave, which means they would fly me to and pay for one every year.  Sweet!  The timeline for the start date would be a bit murky because the hiring manager is leaving for 2 weeks over the holidays, so they are hoping to get second interviews in before she leaves and a start date would be in mid to late January.

I'm meeting with a friend, who is in a similar role for Job No. 2 at another company, for lunch to discuss things I should know that might not be obvious.  It will be interesting to see if they are doing second interviews for this one, since I would imagine the pool might be smaller since it was taken down about 4 months ago.  Or maybe everyone else applying is like me and still eagerly awaiting a phone call!  Either one of these would be an awesome Christmas present!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I Should Have Known

I have the one interview coming up next week, then yesterday I get another email from my No.1 choice asking for an interview tomorrow! I'm so nervous and incredibly happy about it. I'm hoping it's not just a courtesy interview because I had so many people putting in a good word for me. Clothes are selected, had to dig around to find a pair of heels, been interview prepping all day, and ordered the taxi for tomorrow. I'm very excited and can't wait to get in there and make a great impression. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cruising...

Boo is officially a cruiser.  She's just a few days over 7 months and beating Z's cruising age of 8 months.  This also means impromptu corner covering to make she she doesn't split her head open.  She can pull herself up on the sofa, coffee tables and chairs.  We also went to a new grocery store this weekend and found regular CHEERIOS!!! I was so happy.  The box cost over $10, but it's huge and only Boo will be using it, so it should last us until she's sick of them in a few months as a put some in the freezer.

I also made some baby food.  Carrots, applesauce, green beans and peas.  I froze them in mini muffin tins, which makes it really easy to mix and match during meal time.  I'm going to start making meat meals soon.  I think she'll like it.  Maybe even some salmon, yummy.  Now we just have to get Z excited about her veggies again.  She's going to get scurvy at the rate we're going.

Oh and I also have an interview in 2 weeks.  It was a job I had written off, since I applied 4 months ago.  But I got an email asking if I was still available and interested.  I certainly am.  It's a more office based job, not the fun external position I also applied for and really want, but I think this one would definitely be more portable to other places.  We'll see how it goes, fingers crossed.  I feel like this journey is just taking forever and I really hate to get my hopes up, but I kind of can't help it.  Can't wait to channel soem of this excitement into actually working and not going crazy on Pintrest!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

2nd Birthday!

Z had her second birthday party this weekend.  It was a lot of fun.  I was debating on whether or not we would be a McDonalds/Burger King party or one at home, but finally decided that the extra work would be worth it.  I baked dozens and dozens of sugar cookies, whipped up some icing, colored it and put it all in piping bags.  We also bought tons of sprinkles and candies for the kids to use to decorate.  There were only about 5 kids decorating, plus some younger siblings, but that was more than enough!

I'm sure we'll be finding sprinkles for weeks.  Some of their creations were quite interesting, like the tutu wearing T-Rex.  Z didn't open any of the presents she received, we just put them under the tree.  She did play with one huge knitted doll a friend brought though.  All of the rest just save us from wrapping things for Christmas, YAY!!  So now there are presents under our tree and cookies already baked, it's definitely feeling a lot like Christmas.

Next two weeks, we have a Christmas sing along, tea with Santa, Winter Carnival, gingerbread making class and cookie decorating!  I'm really looking forward to all of this keeping us in the holiday spirit, since round-the-clock Christmas music on the radio isn't ubiquitous over here.  Plus we don't make it to the malls enough to see the decorations they have put up.  We might make it to a tree lighting at one of the hotels where they give out free hot chocolate and cookies.

But I can't believe my baby is two.  She's counting to 12, singing most of her ABCs, is generally a non-abusive big sister and just keeps getting bigger everyday.  It's really fun that I get to have a conversation with her and she can understand and respond to me.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Shopping

I'm going with the whole positive visualization as far as work goes, so I've been working on building up my work wardrobe, which consists of absolutely nothing.  I'm working on my way toward college weight, but it's going to be a long while.  Weight aside, I haven't ever actually had a work wardrobe.  My jobs were always fairly laidback, as in dark jeans and a nice shirt would do.  I'm going to be working in a more professional environment, which will require clothes that **gasp** will need to be dry cleaned.

This woman is my wardrobe inspiration! And I've been really taking cues from how she puts outfits together.  Belts, watch, layering, I'm learning all of these skills.  So with all the sales and deals going on right now, I decided to dive in and buy some things.  2 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of work pants, 3 skirts, 8 shirts and 4 belts are a good start and will keep Liam from badgering me about using some of our shopping budget.  The fact that most things were at least 50% is the only reason I'm even entertaining it.  It will end up costing a lot more, if I buy them in the new year or they won't have anything I like and I'll just buy things I never really wear or like.

I'm going to buy some more jeggings for Z and Boo because Z's were super cute and much easier to wear than kids jeans.  So much more comfy for either of them than stiff denim.  Now the big question is how do we get the stuff over here.  I could have had it shipped here, but it might have gotten stuck in customs/never make it here/not get the sales.  Now I'm just banking on the job, so (1)I'll get a shipping allowance to have things moved over here (2)I'll pick it up when we're back (whenever that may be) (3) I'll get a friend to bring it back when they are coming back from the US.  Definitely banking on option 1!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Required Thanksgiving Post

Our Thanksgiving was a big success!  The food was delicious, so much so that I'm going to hound my friend to get the stuffing recipe from the host.  I mean it was one of the best I've ever had.  They didn't get fancy, there was turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, turnips (didn't have any), gravy, rolls and a couple of salads.  My family traditions of mac and cheese, lasagna (we are in no way Italian), green beans/collard greens, corn, cornbread and baked chicken were not present, but you know what those dishes that were there were so freaking good it made me appreciate the simplicity! Unfortunately everyone loved it soo much there were no leftovers!

We ended up leaving the kids behind because 6:30 was just way too late considering that is bedtime.  We left Z watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which she totally loved.  She was wandering around playing pretend wind instruments and trying to dance like the Rockettes.  

This weekend we are putting up the tree and trying to coordinate as many Christmas activities as possible.  All of the malls will be decorated with Christmas trees, ribbons, presents, etc, but there's no Santa to take pics with, for that you have to head to one of the hotels or festivals held at a lot of the schools. The trick is RSVPing before they are all booked up.  As you can imagine, it can be in high demand for the events with tons of expats who want to attend.  We've already planned for soem cookie decorating, at home and out and about.  Carolling is scheduled, now it's tracking down a Santa appearance.

 


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's the little things in life...like Snapple

Here's the background.  We do most of our shopping at an import grocery store really close to our house.  It's generally more expensive, but it means less time on the road and we get everything we need in one place.  So for I would say a few years they have stocked Snapple.  They have the 6 packs of the regular glass bottles.  For $13!  Yeah, not exactly a freaking bargin.  We have longingly stared at these bottles every time we went by.  Well we went a few days ago and saw some of the big plastic bottles of Snapple for only $.82.  Talk about being freaking happy.  There were no less than 20 of them in our cart.  You have to buy everything quickly here.  You never know when they might go away and never come back.  Like the great bagel drought of 2008, which lasted 9 months.  Same goes for Bush's baked beans, these show up every 5 months or so.

The joy of a Snapple was so awesome.  We started sharing one every other day.  Sweet.  Then we went back for another shop and stared longingly at the glass bottle cases.  And the price was different, much different.  It was $4 for a case.  Well we walked out of there with 4 of them tucked safely into the trunk.  With our rationing, we can make it last for over 2 months until the teas of sorrow begin again.  I'm hoping after the initial gorging there will be a slow down and it will last even longer....we'll see about that.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Score!

We've scored an invite to a friend of a friend's Thanksgiving!  Sweet!! This means no cooking for me, well maybe a side dish or dessert.  We were trying to decide if we wanted to go to a hotel, order in from a hotel or do it ourselves and now we don't have to sorry.  One bonus of living abroad is that meeting new people on holidays like this is super fun.  Generally if you were going to a new person's house on Thanksgiving in the US it might be a little awkward, but because everyone is an expat and we're all celebrating this weird US holiday abroad it brings everyone together.  Scoring something from home that you might not be able to readily get over here, ie canned cranberry sauce, marshmallow fluff, collard greens, etc can make you fast friends with everyone.  I don't know where it is or who's hosting, but I'm sure it will be fun.

Z is turning into a little jokester.  She knows that the things she does can make us laugh and her new favorite is blowing raspberries on our stomachs.  It's funny, but a little awkward when she's trying to pull up our shirts while we're out shopping.  She's also got this bucky beaver teeth thing going on.  I don't know how to discourage it because she just seems to be doing it unconsciously, but I don't want her pushing those two front teeth out permanently.

Boo is still bounce flop crawling.  She's also a fan of blowing raspberries on my arms and legs in the early morning when she's awake at 5am.  Liam and I are still split sleeping.  He's got Z and I've got Boo.  On the weekends we're like a colonial family all sleeping in the same room.  Z's tiny toddler bed, Boo's crib and then our bed.  If the bedroom wasn't huge, it would be too cramped, but it would almost be better because we would have no choice, but to send the kids to their own room.  I just wouldn't trust Z in the room on her own with Boo, mainly because of her random hair pulling sneak attacks.  She doesn't do it often, but sometimes it just comes out of nowhere!  We're all playing nicely and then Z will just try and pull Boo up off of the ground by her hair.  She's only done it maybe 3 or 4 times and it's probably the only time I really shout at her.  But I still haven't been able to figure out why she does it.

So I've finally come around to being less anxious about being home.  I think mentally I'm putting myself in the place of "this won't be going on much longer," not for any concrete reason, but I feel like it won't.  It's a lot easier for me to identify the things I'll miss and enjoy them now.  Making blanket forts on the dining room table, playing in the kiddie pool ball pit with Boo and Z, getting out the huge roll of paper and tracing ourselves on the floor, and crawling around with them.  It's going to be sad when it's no longer a full time thing, but I'll definitely have fun while it is!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crawling...kind of

Boo is kind of crawling.  She's really pretty fast, but she's not doing the typical crawling movements.  She kind of does a belly flop over and over, but it gets her there.  She's getting a lot better with her motor skills by following her sister's movements with the cupcake tin and putting the ball pit balls in them.  So that's pretty fun to see.  She's also a lot better at flopping over to where her sister is laying down on the floor playing or watching tv and yanking a handful of hair out of her head.  We've all gotten pretty good at stopping her from doing it, but we all slip up sometimes.

Z is turning into quite the mimic these days, for better and for worse.  I hate driving here.  It's ridiculous and crazy dangerous with a close call most days driving.  Pre-kids my monologue in the car was pretty much just a string of profanity.  I've been able to cut that back, but "What the hell?" is now one of Z's favorite new phrases.  Yay, mom points for me.

We've all been battling colds for about the past 3 weeks and now we all are finally edging closer to healthiness.  I'm so happy.  We went for our first family walk in the park and it was great.  There is a large pond/small lake with lots of fish and ducks and Z was all over it and couldn't wait to see them all. We made it almost the whole way before Boo had her melt down.  So we headed over to the mall, I ran in a picked up some Johnny Rockets (YUMMMM) and went back home.

I participated in a kind of 2K over the weekend.  It was more of an obstacle course/sprint walk type of event.  It was very last minute and I definitely underestimated my level of out of shapeness, but it has motivated me to get my butt in gear and start working toward my goal of getting fit.  I can't use the I just had a kid excuse almost 6 months later.  I forgot how much I actually really enjoy that sore after a hard workout.  It's pretty awesome.

I have also started to work on signing with Boo.  I remember how helpful the three signs were that we used with Z.  So I'm trying to learn and use more of them with Boo and Z is actually watching the videos and starting to use them herself, so she's very good at reinforcing them with Boo when she's home.  Melody is even getting in on it, which is great because I think it makes life a whole lot easier for everyone in the long run.

I'm not sure if we're going to make it back to the US this winter...boo.  We were going to try and make it for Feb, but since the job situation is up in the air, I don't know if it will be possible.  It's part financial and part if I start working at the beginning of the year/end of this year then it's kind of hard to take time off for a week, so soon after starting.  And speaking of the job front, I've got a very good prospect coming up.  My friend is in a complementary department and knows the hiring person very well.  I've even worked with her before, not much, but enough that I made a good impression.  I've also gotten an unsolicited recommendation from a friend that was in the hiring director's position at a different place and worked with her a lot.  So a rec from both of my friends will definitely help me, plus the fact that I've met with and worked with her before.  It would be a great position that would be a bit brutal at times, but also have some downtime as well.  While I'm not pumped that I would be bringing home lot of files/work computer/staying late in the office during these times at least I would be doing something I like.  I'm hoping that I'll hear some news this week because it's getting down to the wire on the whole visa thing.

On a sad note, another one of our friends is moving out of the compound.  It really sucks and they were our closest friends here.  They are moving to be closer to their kids' school, which is definitely understandable here.  While we are friendly with about 3 other families in the compound this was kind of our final push to start looking for new housing.  The position I'm pumped about would provide housing options, so we'll definitely be closely looking at those to find a new place that will work for us.  Ideally our housing, it would have some kind of yard, be in a medium compound with a pool, gym, store and play area.  Some even have restaurants, tennis courts and daycares.  Now, I doubt we would get one of those, but it would be awesome! I can dream, can't I.

I'm putting out positive vibes that it's all going to come together this week!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trick or Treat!

The girls had a great time trick or treating at our friend's compound last night!  There are about 50 houses in the entire place and I would say there were 20 or so that actually decorated and gave out candy.  They were all nicely spaced out around the place, so the kids go to run from house to house and across the street having a ball.  At first Z didn't want to wear her ice cream cone costume, but once she saw all the other kids in their costumes, she was all about putting in on.  Her trick or treat was kind of like "tick or cheek," but it was adorable.  I was happy we were where we were because it meant that we didn't have to worry about cars, which was great because Z didn't have full mobility in her costume.  Stepping up over the curbs and steps was a little tricky.

Boo spent all of her time hanging out in the stroller with Liam.  She fell asleep and enjoyed the super nice weather.  I'd say there were probably about 30 or so kids all going around in different little clusters, so it really felt like it used to growing up.  Most parents were only there for kids under 3 who didn't have older siblings.  The majority of kids were out of their own, running from house to house.  I guess the biggest different for me from trick or treating over here and back in the US is that 1) here you have maids/nannies handing out candy at the houses (parents were trick or treating or setting up for the party) 2) I've never heard of most of the candy in her plastic pumpkin 3) we finished the whole neighborhood in about 40 min 4) Everyone was in short sleeves and/or shorts.  That said, I still can't wait for the next time we get to spend Halloween in the US!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Best. Party. Ever!!!

I can't wait until next year!  It was great, sooooo awesome.  The decorations were amazing and there had to be at least 100lbs of spiderwebs used.  I can't even imagine how long it takes to put them up and how much it cost do buy them all.  We were allowed into the house, which was done up like a haunted mansion.  There were bats hanging from everywhere and little treats around every corner.  Dry ice punch, 3 bars meaning a wait time of 0 all night plus waiters, which was a blessing and a curse.  The costumes were so much fun and some were definitely creepy like Rorschach and the accident victim.  We arrived fashionably late, weren't on the list even though we RSVPed first! to our friend, but after a call it was all cleared up.  

After getting in, we had our first drinks and wandered around amazed at the size of the place and how eeeeeeeeeverything was covered in some pretty funny/scary decorations.  There was a cave, carriage with ghost horses, huge tents and the small haunted house in the back garden.  No one made it into the pool this year, at least while we were there.  The schwarma was great as well as the other Middle Eastern food, but I was seriously sad I didn't get a cake pop or other sweets.  It seems that we were all a bit distracted from the food as the evening progressed.  The band played some rocking music and Liam fell off of one of the raised platform with a "dancing" pole.  

We were very happy that the taxis knew where the party was and were waiting en masse outside for us to make our hasty retreat.  On the night I thought we left at midnight, turns out it was closer to 2!  I can't believe we stayed out that late.  And we were one of the first people to leave.  Our friends who came with us and were supposed to be leaving for a beach camping at noon the next day left closer to 6.  Let's just stay we're still recovering from the weekend festivities.  It won't be something that we do again for about another 11 months and I'm already looking forward to it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Festivities


  1. Women's group Halloween party
  2. Grown up EPIC Halloween party
  3. Halloween cookie decorating event
  4. Beach day
  5. Trick or treating and party in a friend's compound
  6. Halloween baking
All in 4 days!

I'm definitely looking forward to No. 2 and No. 5.  I can't wait for this grown up Halloween party.  I've missed it every year since I moved out here.  It's at a couple's stand alone villa, there will be 400 people there.  She hires private security to man the gate, costumes are mandatory and you have to be on the list.  They also provide an open bar, food, prizes for best costume and gifts and other surprise treats.  It's a party of legend and I'm sooo pumped to be going.  I have no idea how they pay for this thing every year, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.  It generally ends at about 5am...I'll be happy if we make it to midnight, but I intend to live it up!  I can't wait for a schwarma.  I'm going to be a Tetris cube because we had some boxes, construction paper and tape laying around.  

Z is still pretty oblivious about the whole Halloween thing.  She's just happy to dress up and play, so it looks like I'll have to eat her candy for her.  Boo just smiles at everyone as usual, so cuteness is her costume.  It's still in the 90s here and humid...still waiting for fall/winter...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Missing the chill

One thing that always throws me completely off about being over here is the fact that it doesn't get cold.  There might be one night in an entire year that it drops below 60.  It's kind of crazy and makes the holiday season kind of weird.  I'm used to bundling up, gloves, hats, scarves, sweaters the whole lot and over here...nothing.  I mean you might put on a sweatshirt, if you're out at a party in January and everyone is sitting outside.  It won't get below 90 at all this week, which means there's going to have to be a serious mod done to Z's Halloween costume that comes complete with batting.  I'm going to need to cut that out, so the poor thing doesn't pass out while trick or treating.

This brings me to the other odd thing about being here.  The things that are so ubiquitous in the US can go by completely unnoticed over here.   You have to make a real effort.  For Halloween, friends in a bigger compound mostly filled with westerners will be doing trick or treating at about 60 houses that are all in a less than 1/4 mile loop.  This is sweet for candy collection and not tiring out a nearly 2 yr old!  Which will be followed by a party.  But I definitely miss walking up and down hills and all over my huge neighborhood that I had growing up.  And for Thanksgiving, I'll see if I can get my hands on a turkey from the supermarket, if not we'll have to put in a delivery order at one of the hotels.  They do a turkey, stuffing and a few sides special at the major hotels for expats.  Almost no one even gets that day off, but it is the beginning of the weekend (it's Friday/Saturday here), which means the whole day off and watching the game atmosphere is certainly different.  And the biggie, Christmas is usually celebrated with a huge buffet, bouncy castle and mini golf for the kids.  Everyone is sitting outside and enjoying the sun.  We're going to make a solid effort to rotate between being here and with my family for Christmas because we want the kids to have that 30 person family dinner with freezing temps and everything is closed feeling.  When we can't get there, I'll be sure to keep the cookie baking, Christmas movie watching, house decorating and Christmas songs at an almost amount to make up for it.

I freaking love this time of year!!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Animal Parade

We had a fun family day out this week filled with animals just like Z likes.  We got to go to the huge fish tank in the mall, which was great because we didn't even have to pay for the aquarium admission.  I mean the tank it probably 30 ft high and 30 yards long and filled with sharks, sting rays and all other kinds of cool fish.  Z freaking loved just sitting there in the stroller and describing the fish to us "flying" around in the tank.  Then we decided to really give her a treat and eat in the Rainforest Cafe.  She wasn't scared at all, which I was kind of anticipating  but we did have to keep her from climbing the walls to go hang out with the monkeys, tigers and elephants.  We had a good long day filled with walking, a little shopping and some food court snacks.

Z picked up 2 pairs of shoes from Payless, Liam got a hat, which is a big deal for him cause his head is a bit on the large side! and some cargo shorts.  I begrudgingly picked 2 outfits for interviewing/starting work that actually look professional and fit me.  I hate clothes shopping.  HATE!!! Part of it is that I have a lot of weight to lose and the other part of it is that I just hate going shopping and trying things on.  I think it's flashbacks of my mom dragging me to her 5 hour shopping/fitting room bonanzas.  I got one dress and one top/pants combo that can definitely be mixed with other things.  I'm just hoping I get to use them soon.

Advice needed:  If someone says they are going to show your resume around and think you would be a a great addition to the team, how long do you want for a response?  This person is the second highest person in the department with definite hiring authority and they currently have 4 positions open in that department.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Potty Time

Z used the potty for the first time today! and it was at school.  We have been asking for her to move up to the next class for about months now.  She liked her class, but she was in there with babies and it was showing by the fact that she would sometimes not want to feed herself, hold her own drinks, etc.  We wanted her to move up because she was more mobile, vocal and better able to follow directions than most kids in the class.  But the director of the school restructured the classes from 12-18mos and then 19mos-24 months to 1yr-2yrs, 2yrs-3yrs and didn't tell us.

So Liam went into the class to pick her up and they told him one of the other kids had been moved up ahead of her.  Well we sent the director a message and told her under no uncertain terms that she needed to be moved up.  She explained the age grouping shift, but said they would move her up because her teachers felt she should be moved up because she was doing a lot more than the other kids.  I knew it would be a good move for her.  The only way we got her to drink from a sippy cups and use a fork was by having other little kids in her class doing it.  Lo and behold today in her little progress book the note says she used the potty twice today!  I had been trying to get her to do it.  Pretty much sitting on the bathroom floor while she sat on the pot for a good 45 min only to have her hop off and pee on the floor, so I was pumped at this development.  She's a kid that sees other big kids doing something and then she's all over it.  So hopefully it will happen by the time she's 2, that would be awesome.  We have 2 months to get the basics down.

Boo is her usual spit bubble blowing self.  Her legs are getting stronger and I think she'll be looking to crawl soon.  I'm looking forward to that day and also dreading it.  But at least then she'll be able to attack her sister or run away, which ever her preference might be.  

Freezer Meal Cooking and other miscellany

The past few days I've been trying to do some intense bulk cooking and freezing.  I'm preparing for once I'm working and will not have time to cook. Wishful thinking I know!  But I've been trying to do a lot of meals (meatballs and spaghetti sauce, ground beef, onions and pepper mix, mini fritattas), but I'm kind of stuck.  Those are pretty much the only recipes I seem to be making, well and pancakes, lots and lots of pancakes.  I mean I probably make like 60 pancakes every week.  And it only lasts maybe 2 weeks.  Anyone know of a free freezer meal prep site for good recipes.  I was going to use Once a Month Mom, but she's charging now.  Grrr.

The plan is that I can do a big cook once every few weeks, so we can have breakfast, lunch and dinner ready in the freezer.  I can take out what we want to eat the night before and then Melody can heat it up for when we get home.  Since Z is going to sleep at 6:30-7 this means that once we both get home it's less time wasted cooking and more time spend playing. That's the plan anyway.  Melody is also working side by side with me to learn how we like our food and the recipes we enjoy, but her main priority is the kids, not cooking and I actually like cooking and want to do it.

I have had a few more referral contacts take on my resume and say that I would make a great addition, so far no bites.  I did have a meeting with a public policy institute direct about their operation, but it's crazy small.  Like less than 10 people small, so it was a good contact and we talked about cool things, but nothing is going to come of that.  At least I got to try out my freaking amazing sock bun!  How did I never freaking know about this?! I mean, I'm seriously clueless about all things makeup, hair and general putting myself together know-how.  It's kind of sad, I can tell you in a sec what looks awesome, but have zero ability to do it for myself.  So this was a big step for me in eventually needing to look like a professional.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Same Same

There is a lot of that going on.  A lot of the same things happening.  Had some people over on Thursday night, chatted, ate way too many sweets, listening to music, ended up watching the movies we put on for the kids and then turned in early.  Pretty much the perfect night!  I also ventured into my first gluten free baking adventure.  We have a friend who has celiac disease and I didn't want her to be left out when it came to the sweets, so we bought a GF mix.  The cookies were a bit overcooked because they don't A) spread on the cookie sheet or B) change color, so there was some guesswork, but were still yummy.  Score!

My friends also let me know there are some jobs I'll be getting interview requests for, but no telling on when it will happen.  No one seems to be in a rush to hire, although they are all swamped because they are understaffed.  It doesn't make sense to me either!

Boo is officially a sitter, sitting up nice and strong and only occasionally falling over.  She's also a roller, which is scary and we've had a few close calls.  Z is talking more and more.  We ask her about school and she proceeds to give us a good 5 minutes of pretty much unintelligible stories with facial expressions and arm movements, so we just go along and nod our heads.  It's also a good distraction method to get her to eat her veggies during dinner.  Everyday she says or does something else and Liam and I just look at her and go, "Wow, where did she learn that?" or "She's getting so big!"  It's weird.

Halloween and the rest of the holiday season and I'm so pumped for it.  It doesn't help that Melody is already chomping at the bit to start decorating. Apparently in the Philippines people start decorating for Christmas about now.  I'm really going to try and hold off, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to wait all the way until Black Friday.  I love this time of year!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Stuffy Noses and Swimming

Z loves the water.  She freaking loves the pool, bathtub, even playing in the sink.  One sure fire way to stop any tantrum or tears is to fill with bathroom sink and bust out the water beads.  She would literally spend 2 hours just standing on a chair at the sink pouring water and water beads into different sized containers.  But yesterday, she got a super water extravaganza day that began with her swim lesson and ended with a 4 hour pool party in our compound.  All of our friends with kids were over and it was a bit crazy, but Liam held onto her when she wasn't trucking around the pool with her swim noodle and has a great time.  She's great at pulling herself out of the pool, which makes me feel better about her being in the pool.  And having all those kids around was great, even if they were all older.  The youngest were 5, but she was right there with them, running into the pool showers against the wall, climbing in using the ladder and jumping into Liam's arms.

The BBQing didn't start until late because it's just too hot to grill in the day even under the sun shade, but she didn't care downing a hot dog, sausage and some wings!  We thought she would be pooped...not even.  Bed time wasn't as easy as we thought it would be because she still had so much energy! But she eventually went down and so did Z.  I turned in early as my startup work beginning at Ungodly O'clock is draining.  It doesn't help when your breathing is seriously compromised by a stuffy nose and a sore throat.  Thankfully, we're all finally getting over the remnants of our colds, which is making life a lot more liveable.  Even with all of that it was so much fun to see Z having a ball.  She just kept saying "The boys in the pool." ".The boys in the shower" "The boys eating."  Are you sensing a theme here.  Her takeaways from a 4 year old's birthday party a couple of weeks ago was "The boys slide."  Liam's already getting defensive that the boys are getting so much attention already.  We'll just have to keep an eye on our westle mania toy loving, pocketbook toting, nail polish wanting, rough and tumble girl.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

And he's gone

and we won't be getting a dog for a long time...

We didn't have him for long, but it definitely shows us our limitations and what we need.  He was too afraid of people to be around little kids and I was a nervous wreck the whole time he was here even when he was secluded in the kitchen.  At one point he refused to come back in the house and destroyed the bamboo covering our front gate.  Melody and I managed to get him to go back in the house and then we put him in her outdoor/indoor pantry area.  He was just fine and actually slept there without trying to sleep standing up and falling asleep.  I think because he wasn't trying to watch his back and could relax he liked it.  We would look at him from the window and he was eating the food and laying down, but we knew our fostering would be short.

The woman who found him is a local woman, Joey, and this is incredibly rare that you would find a muslim over here who would love dogs.  She told us that people have called her abnormal and a freak because of her love of dogs.  I'm glad she does what she does, but she's just a special lady like that.  She held up her end of the deal and found us someone to give the dog a forever home.  We were so happy and feeling less guilty about needing him to go.  And then Liam decided to let him stretch his legs before the guy called us to get the dog...BOLTED.

The dog bolted because Liam tied him to kiddie picnic table while he ran inside to get his phone in case the guy called.  The dog slipped the harness and climbed up the fence through the gap he made earlier in the bamboo and was gone.  The security guard of the compound also conveniently opened the gate so the dog could get out.  And when he left he managed to leave his harness and leash behind.  So began Liam's 5 hour journey.  We let Joey know that the dog escaped and she came right over to where Liam was with her husband.  And there she is abaya and all running through backyards, laying down on the ground to tempt the dog to come over, anything she could to get him to come back.  It worked! We met up with the dog's potential forever home owners and Liam watched as she worked her magic to get them to take him.  It's just a husband and wife and they have a big house.  It will certainly work out better than our situation, just because they have the luxury of giving him his own space for a while.

Liam came back home with some interesting stories, happier than I thought he would after chasing after a dog for 5 hours in 100 degree heat.  I guess we both just wanted to know he went somewhere nice and wouldn't continue to be hurt by living on the streets.  I'm glad we got to help a little bit, but oh no, no dog for us, unless we 1) have it from a puppy 2) its very small (this one was way bigger than we thought, maybe half the size of a golden retriever) 3) rehomed dog with experience with kids.  Lesson learned!

Fostering a dog

He's here and now we're looking for a forever home for him.  We went and just wanted to look, but the woman who found him had 8 dogs that she found while searching for her own lost dog.  Oy, we felt horrible and decided that we could take him for a few days until she or we found someone to talk care of him.  But we definitely need to find another place for him because he's just too skittish and Z is just too friendly.  We actually had one barking incident that led to her crying and me kind of freaking out.  Now we know that a dog is not just for us and hope someone adopts him soon!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting a dog?

This is something Liam and I have discussed before.  There is a HUGE stray animal problem over here. It's cats, which some have said were brought in to keep the mouse population in check a long time ago. Well someone released the cats without fixing them, I've never seen a mouse here, but the cats are crawling all over the place.  We're not cat people, at all and have successfully dodged our friends finding stray kittens, taking them in and adopting them out.  It just wouldn't work.  But there are also some stray dogs, generally salukis, which are just too big for us and even when well fed look like they are starving.  We were recently told about some Maltese terriers found dumped by the side of the road.  The tag line on the post was small family dog.  I checked out the breed and it actually seems like something that would be a good fit for us.  The Maltese could stay indoors during the summer and run around our house with no issue on space and we wouldn't feel like we were neglecting the poor thing because it didn't get to run for hours outside.

Liam wants to jump at the chance and so do I, but I'm certainly trying to be cautious.  First, we have to meet the dogs and see if any get along well with us.  They were dumped and who knows if they were abused before hand or have behavioural problems.  Second, while they have been medically nursed back to health, there could be other health issues down the line and that can get expensive.  Not to mention the cost of food and other necessities.  Third, it's like adopting a new kid in some ways.  Our kids are in bed and we want to relax, but the dog wants to play/run outside/just jump up and down for attention.  Finally, barking and pooping in the house.  I think it's a great breed for our family situation and the opportunity for this type of dog has probably come up maybe twice in the 5 years we've been here without importing.  Importing a dog can cost thousands of dollars.

I'm sure they will be freaking adorable and Z LOVES dogs. She played with her grandfather's neighbor's dog for about 2 hours when we were visiting.  She threw a tennis ball and squealed with glee every time the dog brought it back.  Talk about matching energy levels.   Liam had a small dog growing up and he enjoyed it and thinks the girls would too.  We had a dog at my grandmother's where  we lived at some points growing up, but I don't remember much, she was so old when I was in the remembering childhood frame of mind.  I kind of remember her laying there, walking to her food and water, and walking outside to do her business and then right back in.  She was so low maintenance I think my perspective on dogs is a little skewed.  My dad also had huge hulking Cane Corso mastifs and that definitely put me off those giant dogs.

If they haven't been adopted or fostered yet (we sent the email 3 hours after it was posted, yes dogs like these are soooo that in demand), we'll take a family visit to see the dogs and see how we feel.  Any experience with terriers out there? Advice about getting a family dog?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Round and Round

That's how I feel like I'm running...around in circles.  The job search is still coming up empty.  Lots of applications and leads, but nothing concrete.  Grrrrr.  It's almost September, so boo is what I say to that.  It sucks, but there isn't much I can do about it other than keep applying and letting people know that I'm looking.

My part time gig is going well.  It's pretty easy, people are really happy I'm helping, but I do feel out of the loop.  It's kind of the nature of working remotely, but I need to get more input about how I can actually help and make things work a lot more efficiently.  I mean I thought my previous startup gig was disorganized, this place makes them look like they were functioning with military precision.   

The kids are doing well.  Z is getting bigger everyday and learning so much it's amazing.  She's now saying please, thank you, and bless you without prompting.  She can also run with the big kids, ie 4 yr old boys with no problems!  We were at a birthday party and she freaking loved it and we didn't have any worries about her getting pushed around.  I love that she's so tough, but still wants you to paint her nails and carry around a pocketbook.  Liam and I had a semi-sad moment when she was freaking out and having so much fun about a little Step2 playhouse at Toys R Us and we knew we couldn't get it for her.  So we did the next best thing, Liam brought some cardboard boxes from work and I made her a little house.  Complete with door, windows, a little ringing bell and contact paper chalkboard inside.  She loved it and promptly destroyed it in about 2 days.  But we've scoped out the structural faults and can't wait to make another one!  It was actually a lot of fun.

Boo is kind of hilarious and loves to smile at everyone.  She's also going to have rock hard abs when she's older because of this straining scream thing she does.  It's not about poop or digestion, she just likes to do it.  She's also on the verge of sitting up and can shimmy across the floor if you put one of her favorite toys just out of reach.  I can't believe how big she's getting and although the sleep situation is still touch and go I'm actually looking forward to having another one in a year or so.  This is a big development from 4 weeks ago, where if you had asked me I would have said NEVER and can you take back the ones we have now.  It's amazing what 3.5 hours of solid sleep at a time can do to your mood instead of 2 at a time.

The biggest hurdles to tackle by the end of the year:

  1. Enjoy being home with the kids and stop checking my email for news of a job
  2. GET A JOB
  3. Help Liam study for his professional certification
Seems doable...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Retractable Claws

Dear Boo,

Do you have retractable claws? Because I don't understand how you're able to scratch and pinch me so hard.  I look at your nails and they are as short as I can comfortably cut them with barely any white showing.  How are you still scratching the crap out of me.  It's like laying next to a little sticker bush!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Starting Part Time

Z is growing by leaps and bounds.  It's amazing and I totally see why people start to long for another one once their kids reach this age.  She has her own little personality, likes to play jokes and make us laugh.  It's also amazing how quickly her language skills have developed.  She can name about 20 animals, including a lemur and a giraffe and she's a great big sister.  Boo is the only other person in the family from the way she interacts with her.  It's always, "Where's Boo?", "Hi Boo", "Bye Boo", etc.  And it's freaking adorable.  She is the first one to run over and put the binky back in Boos' mouth if needed and she doesn't try and ram it through her skull anymore.  She's also put up with having Boo puke in her face 3 times in the last 3 weeks.  What a trooper!

Boo is getting over that colic-y thing that she had going on for a month or so.  Our new get her to bed trick is using a set of jingling bells and shaking them over her until she passes out.  I don't know why it works, but it does and I'm not questioning it.  Other than that, now that I'm working I actually find that I'm much more appreciative of the time I have with the kids.  When I come down from the office, I just grab Z and/or Boo and give them big hugs and find that playing the rest of the day is really just so much fun.    Even if that was the only good thing to come out of this part time job it would be worth it.  It also keeps me from freaking out over the fact that in a month my overseas license expires and until I have a job or Liam sponsors me, I'll be trapped at home (more than usual) or have to rely on taxis (yuck).  

In case you hadn't noticed, I've finally started my part time startup job.  The hours are yucky (crazy early) but it's not too taxing and most of the time it's really chill.  They have also been super encouraging about how I've been doing and how they can increase the scope and responsibility of my position soon.  It's totally fine by me as long as I can do it from home.  I'm more than happy to keep doing it for as long as I can.  Ramadan and Eid will be ending soon, which means that the HR departments for full time positions will be back to work. The goal is to secure a job by October when my loan repayment starts.  The part time job will be enough for the payments and some miscellaneous spending, but not too much else.  Once October hits, we'll reassess if we have to...I sure hope not!  If we cannot afford to wait then I'll have Liam sponsor me and get a job, which will be no problem that way.   

Sunday, August 5, 2012

So Freaking Cold

The Ireland/UK trip has been going really well so far.  Z loves her Grandad, who she has taken to calling "Dad Dad".  And her aunt, Madison, who she calls "Matty" is a rockstar.  We came back from the wedding before the evening reception and Matty and Z were outside in the workshop painting.  It was rainy, but neither one cared and apparently Z loved hearing the rain on the roof and was squealing with laughter.  I'll break it down:

Travel/Flight
Z swiped up just about every germ in the airports on two continents as she threw fits out of sheer exhaustion!  Our flight left at midnight and the hand off crying children to me went on until about 3am.  They slept for about 3 hours of the flight and I slept for a bit as well.  It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it wasn't great.  The 3 hour layover was interesting because Schipol was barely open, so there wasn't much for us to do, but sit in Starbucks and wait.  We made our homemade chicken sandwiches last with some drinks from there and tried to get the kids to nap.  They did, and they promptly woke up when we went through security again before boarding the flight.  We landed, gathered the 2 checked bags, 3 carryons, 2 carseats and a stroller and managed to cram it all into Dad Dad's car.

Dad Dad's House
Sleeping in a room roughly 1/3 the size of our bedroom has gone better than I imagined. I think this means we can transition to single room sleeping when we get home. Playing with cousins has been great fun for Z and we look forward to doing it again next year. Walking around the block to the grocery store, going for walks and just enjoying greenery has been amazing. That said its really freaking cold for July/August! The big family BBQ was a big success even if Liam's older brother did try to drag everyone down with his woe is me, self centered life messes. And with about 2 desserts brought by each family, it was a sweet ending to an actually sunny, relatively warm day.

Jobs
Didn't get the one I really wanted. I have a sneaking suspicion I asked for too much. It was a little above the market rate, by maybe 3%, but I thought I would get a counter offer, apparently the other top contender was a bit more flexible and under cut me. I'm getting this info from my inside source who told me the hiring manager's decision was overturned by a dean in favor of the lower salary seeker. Talk about a bummer. I still have 4 apps out there actively being looked over plus the resume referrals from my other rejection, so we'll see. Once we're back home I'll start in job mode again and begin the startup job.

Life
We are really lucky and reminding ourselves of this every night by going over the fun we have had all day has made these job setbacks more bearable.  I don't want to let this search define me, so I'm embracing the time off, I'll have the next 40 years to work and focus on making everyday as fun as possible. Yay brownies for breakfast, water gun fights and playing peek a boo in the mornings before we all start our day. Seriously lucky!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Job Fail, Life Win

Well not really, but this interview was for a job I couldn't take anyway. They got back to me and said I didn't get it, but that they loved me and wanted to get my permission to forward on my resume to a few other people. It's fine by me, so I guess that's pretty much the best outcome for a job I was afraid I would get and have to turn down. I hope something will come out of it all. And I still haven't heard from the job I really really want, which said they would try and get back to me last week. So despite this week sucking job wise, it will rock life wise with our 2 week vacation to Ireland! 12 hours of travel time with an infant and a toddler...wish us luck!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Waiting Game...

I've been told that two full time sponsored positions will get back to me this week.  This means that the compulsive email checking has begun.  And the startup has still not given me a contract to sign, officially stated me hours or given me any other info other than an updated style guide of sorts.  I'm not really trying to rush them since we're going on vacation for two weeks at the end of this week.  I'm sure that once we're away they will URGENTLY need me and my inbox will be flooded.  It wouldn't surprise me one stinking bit.  Even with these two possible positions in the pipeline, I've still been working the networking/reconnecting angle to not only find out about upcoming positions, but also to rebuild my friend base in the area.  Once you leave and only come back for a few weeks every few months it's hard to keep up with people/maintain friendships other than on facebook.

Packing for the big trip has begun.  Liam's anal retentive sister, Linda, has begun coordinating our stay.  While it is helpful for her to find a pack and play and blow up mattress for us, the fact that she always feels like she has to be in charge is irksome.  I wonder how she'll feel when Liam takes back the necklace, earrings and bracelet that he gave to his mother two years before she passed away.  For some reason, although Linda is the 4th child, she feels like all of those decisions have to run through her.  I just try and stay out of it when she starts obsessively mothering everyone (ie actually look a plate of food out of my hands while I was eating because according to her it was time for the meal it end) and let Liam take over the talking to.

It's always odd when I visit Liam's family.  It is a large family where everyone lives nearby, but I wouldn't call them close.  With my fam, everyone is laughing, telling stories, teasing each other, kids are running around, etc.  With Liam's family, no one is really laughing, old stories generally piss someone off, not make them laugh and exchanges are generally about the one-up-manship of how much their life sucks.  But Liam's friends give me a much better famly/at home feel, so the wedding will be awesome!  The girls will love it and so will I.  I've never been looking forward to walking more in my life.   

Monday, July 16, 2012

More Interviews

And a serious case of the jitters.  I really want this one position that would bring together all of the things I love, namely travel, research, community service and working with students.  I would be creating curriculum and teaching mini courses that would culminate in travel where we would put all of that course prep into action.  I can create a curriculum on pretty much anything, law, economic development, women's issues, education, media, pretty much anything.  It would also be a seriously fun job working at a cool place where I would get to learn a boat load.  I really really want it, so much so that I've actually created a whole website that  showcases pretty much everything I would want to do, how I would do it and how it would make the program better.

I used all of my networking skills to ensure I got an interview.  I don't know if I was going to get one anyway, but I made sure I got one.  Befriended a member of the HR staff and got her to check in for me, made sure my friends dropped subtle and not to subtle hints I would be amazing and of course applied with a great application.  So I'll interview and include my site with additions from the interview in the thank you note email followup.  The last time I had butterflies in my stomach like this was during finals when I interviewed for my first job out of undergrad.  I'm hoping this is a good sign.  Ahh, so close to something so great! I just hope it all goes to plan...

Monday, July 9, 2012

We Need A Vacation

Summer fever is setting in and we need to get out of this place.  There are only so many indoor activities that you can come up with for a 20 month old.  Z is driving us and herself crazy! We leave in less than 3 weeks and I can't wait to be able to just let her run in the back garden in the grass.  We won't have to pre-cool the car to make sure I don't burn my hands on the seat belts and steering wheel and that is a plus in my book no matter what.

Boo is growing by leaps and bounds.  She's practically in push up position and super alert during the days.    She's not so great at staying asleep at night, but she's better at just eating and going right back to sleep.  She's starting to hit that fun age where you can start to play.  In addition to pushing up super high to look over the arms of the recliner she has commandeered, she is cooing at us and starting to laugh.  It's making the semi-sleepless nights much more bearable.  

Z is starting to hit the terrible 2s earlier than expected.  She's having fits, trying to throw her weight around and being defiant or just throwing herself on the ground for no reason.  We walk in the door and she just falls down crying, we ask, "what do you want?" we open the door thinking she wants to go outside, she screams even more, we close the door and ask if she wants to play inside and she screams louder.  I can't wait until she can talk and tell us what she wants because 50 questions is only leading to more and more forced tears from her.  But then of course she does something completely adorable and we say how lucky we are.  I think our brain is just keeping us from processing and remembering the tantrums.

The 4th of July party was a lot of fun.  Maybe it was too much fun, Liam had to kick out the stragglers at about 2am.  I snuck upstairs with the kids at about 10:30! How lame is that?!  Apparently people were looking for me, but at that point I was so pooped from making brownies, mini quiche, burger patties and potato salad to even care.  It was a success and we're looking forward to the next party in, oh I don't know, maybe 4 months. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Interview

I had an interview for a full time university teaching position.  I was under the impression that it would take place twice a week, which made the 30 min commuter flight possible on those days.  During the interview I was informed the schedule would now be 4 or 5 times per week.  I nearly balked when they said that.  There is no freaking way.  I'm equally afraid that I screwed up answering a few questions, so I won't get it and that since they said they loved my energy and were excited about my suggestions that I will get it.  If I did get it, turning it down would be heartbreaking (good pay, insurance, stipends, 401k), but living apart is not an option again.

On a more hopeful note, I spoke to someone a bit more local about a position, he loved me and invited us to dinner at his house this weekend and gave me some people to contact.  I just hope something comes from all of my networking soon!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Brunch's REVENGE!

The ladies all went out for a much deserved brunch, well it started out at a nice ladies brunch and ended well after 10pm at a bar.  It all started innocently enough, kissing Liam bye, leaving him with the girls and Melody and her husband to take over kid duty.  We all caravaned over to the hotel, which has the best brunch in town, it's so freaking good, I'm still dreaming about it.  It was a bubbly brunch, so yum.  After it was all said and done and they kicked us out at 4 we all intended to head on home, swim with the husbands and kids and enjoy the rest of the evening back at our compound...well someone got the brilliant idea to head out for a couple post-brunch drinks.

Those few drinks evolved into a 6 hour post brunch hangout and didn't end until I finally dragged someone away to share a cab with me because I was totally out of cash.  Needless to say the next day was a bit rough.  My head and stomach felt fine.  It was my back that had gone crazy.  I don't know what I did to it, I have no idea, but I was completely unable to bend.  So sitting down, picking up the kids, changing diapers or just generally functioning was difficult. Liam was a trooper about it, especially since he gets his golf days.  Now the big effort is into getting the house ready for our 4th of July party.  I think I've got the menu down, next up shopping, prepping and cooking for the big day.  It's going to be so much fun! 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Job offers...

In the past 72 hours I have been offered 2 jobs. Both positions are part time teaching positions. I also have an interview for a full time teaching position next week. While I didn't think that teaching would be something I would be doing after law school, I'm certainly not going to balk at the opportunity. I'm also contacting everyone I know to see about upcoming full time positions that they might have coming up. Oh and that position at the tech startup. After everything was signed, they got a huge influx of money and have been MIA since then. I have no idea wtf is going on, but it might just be for the best if I find a full time position. But I will freaking want to die if they IPO or get bought out. I'll keep trying to contact them, but it's kind of frustrating that they were super pumped for me to join before their funding came through and how they are nowhere to be found. Frustrating! And for some unknown reason I have been researching PhD programs. I really think that working or being in school for the past 20-something years of my life has made me completely unable to not work/study and just enjoy this freedom. It's a sickness and I seriously need to get over it! On the family front, Z seems to be adjusting to Boo a bit better. She is no longer fighting sleep and will put herself to sleep instead of fighting Liam for 1.5 hrs. She is loving signing to us, being silly and can swim with a noodle! We are super excited that she's getting the hang of it and should be swimming completely unassisted by the end of the summer. Boo is smiling at us, laughing and cooing like the little cutie she is. I'm so glad because she was just so boring before, cute but boring. At least now, I feel like she actually knows I'm in front of her and do not just serve as a milk machine. She has also started enjoying her baths, which is a load off because crazy screaming baby was not easy to bathe. 4 weeks until vacation and I'm trying to relax, let the job search happen organically now that I have about 15 people at 6 companies looking out for me and enjoy being home with the kids. I really want a job now, but as soon as I get one I know I'm going to start freaking out about leaving Z for 9 hours/day. Just can't win!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Oh the pain...

Liam and I both went to bootcamp and boy are we feeling the pain.  It was a circuit training and wow, I thought, oh it's just doing a few things for 30-45 seconds...hmmm not so much.  We limped out of there with our friends.  The good things, half of the 16 people there were our friends, we really felt liker we got in a great workout and we can't wait to improve on how we did.  The cons, it only runs for 2 more weeks and doesn't start again until September.

The leads on a full time job are starting to get better.  I have an interview for a full time teaching position in a few weeks, meeting at 2 law firms and have pretty much everyone I know working on other jobs for me.  I'm still hopeful that it's just a matter of time until a full time position comes my way and that's made it easier for me to SAHM it while I can.  I know once I get a full time job the ticking clock of "oh no I'll be leaving Boo at home" will start.  But for most positions I wouldn't start for at least another 2 months, so that gives me a lot of time to savor it. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bootcamp

Liam and I are starting bootcamp this weekend.  I couldn't come soon enough for me because my back is freaking killing me.  It hasn't completely incapacitated me like it did with Z, but it's just a slow painful  back attack.  I've been trying to get in some elliptical time at least 3 times/wk and some ab work, but getting that done between prepping things for interviews/work, playing with, feeding, and getting the kids to nap, has been difficult.  So we're using our 3 hours of weekly babysitting time to do bootcamp and go to dinner afterward.  It should painful, tiring and completely sweaty and I'm definitely looking forward to it.   

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Part time gig

I managed to wrangle a part time gig with a tech startup! It's pretty small right now, I will be employee No. 14, but it is already making some big waves. I am glad I got it because when I get my full time job I will still be able to do this. So, yay for a paycheck and doing something fun. Now for the job that I really want...the jury is still out. I was introduced to the hiring manager, I meet the qualifications and then some, but it is still a crapshoot. I just don't know if there is already someone else in mind or if it's a free and clear position, but I do have my contacts advocating for me. I am also contemplating putting together a sample website of all of the readings, forms, itineraries, etc like i would do if I were hired. I am contemplating how much I should stalk this guy and whether I should just send the sample site to him without getting an interview first. This is kind of what I did with the tech job, I emailed, tweeted and YouTube videoed my way into an interview. I'm just not so sure how this would work out in the world of education, although the manager is a social media/MBA/younger kind of guy. Thoughts? Other than that, I am trying to workout to get ready for the wedding in July. Have I mentioned I'm taking the bar in Feb? If not, well then that clears up why I am not having a total breakdown right now. We will all head to the US to visit family. Liam will take the girls to his aunts when we arrive, I'll take the bar and then we will have a fun filled 1.5 week family vacation. Oh I can't wait to start studying...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Funk

It seems that a case of the blahs are going around right now.  I am following the crowd with that one.  I'm not taking the bar until February.  I made that choice mid-semester thinking of my previous recovery after Z and how rough it was living on no sleep, pain, etc and decided that adding studying for the bar to that would only create a disaster.  Because of this delay in taking the bar, I'm not in full crisis and studying mode, which means I have a lot of time to freak out about the job situation.  It isn't dire...yet, but it could get there.  I only started contacting firms earlier this week and the ones I have contacted have been receptive to having me come in and talk with them, but there is nothing concrete yet.

As for the non-legal job, I have put out a boat load of applications and heard nothing so far.  I actually heard from a woman from HR who found my app in their database and wanted to contact me for an interview.  To say I was estatic is an understatement.  I emailed her back the next day to say great and then heard nothing...left her a voicemail...nothing...called her again yesterday 4 days after my voicemail and she said she would call me back in a few minutes...nothing.  WTF?! You contacted me! So I'm just chalking that one up to a crazy person from HR, who is obviously deranged.

While being at home with the girls is great and I'm sure I would be freaking out if I couldn't, it also kind of sucks not knowing the endgame.  I am just not SAHM material.  I wish I could be a SAHM who absolutely loves it.  I wish I could, but I know that for me to be the best mom I can be, I need to get out of the house, work in an outside job that engages and challenges me and where I can have conversations with adults on a daily basis.  Also, over here without work friends it's really hard to meet other people.  Perhaps if I were back in the US in a regular neighborhood and had a car wasn't so isolated my feelings about being home would be different.  And then there is the whole financial situation to think about.  We can live off of Liam's salary, even once my loans need to be repaid, but that means no savings, no health insurance, no college fund and no retirement fund contributions.  That's not a good place to be in, living paycheck to paycheck. And once our kids have to start school in 3.5 years, which has to be private as there are no other options, we would be in a precarious situation.  So I'll start working my stalker magic on every HR manager and other connection I have to make this job search work.  This is my new job, until I find a real job.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Z takes us out

Liam and I both got the screaming craps yesterday within about 5 hours of one another. I was taken down first. In bed, close to a bathroom with a trash an nearby. Then Liam started feeling it coming on and with two kids to look after decided to venture out for help. He went to all of the neighbors, who must have had a meeting and decided to all be away. But while wandering the compound with two babies in onesies, he was spotted by Melody's husband who thought something was up. Melody was finishing up the laundry at our friend's house and came to see what was wrong. Liam informed her of the horrors just before the sickness hit him. She took Z while she finished up and then came to our house. I honestly don't know what we would have done without her. She stayed the night, which was awesome while we both felt like dying. My puking was finished by about 8pm, when I passed out, but Liam continued until about 2am. We quarantined ourselves in the spare bedroom my Grandmom had just left and hoped we didn't get Boo sick. After finally convincing Melody that my milk was ok and I was feeling much better she left this afternoon for some much deserved rest. Melody got a nice thank you card(yay stocking up our card collection) and a bonus for being awesome and we get a quiet rest of the weekend to recover.

Friday, May 25, 2012

When you're climbing up a ladder and you feel something splatter...

Diarreah cha cha cha.  Z has had it for a few days now, so she's been on the Pedialyte.  We visited the doctor to have her checked out, but we can't really get a definitive diagnosis until we give them a sample. Awesome.  Oh and she's been puking at night.  Only at night, at least that's Liam territory since I'm in the spare bedroom with Boo.  But trying to keep her germs away from Boo and me is proving to be a challenge.  I hope it clears itself up soon, or we at least get it diagnosed and can start her getting better.  The thing is she's acting totally normal, just playing, running around and all of that, so it's a bit deceiving.

Boo's doctor visit revealed that she has a slight infection in her belly button, so again Awesome.  The vessels haven't closed completely partially because she does have one almight cry at least once per day, which stresses out her tummy pulling the muscles apart and keeping the vessels from fully closing.  One week of anti-biotics and we should be good.  So doctor visits next week as well to check up on them both again.

My grandmom has gone home, so now it's just the 4 of us and so far we're loving the ability to just veg.  Our spin classes start next week, so Liam and I are looking forward to working out together.  We get one 3-hour night of babysitting out of Melody every week, so we're probably going to end up going to spin class and then just sleeping in the car for the rest of the time.  Oh, sweet uninterrupted sleep.  The things we'll do to get some shut eye around here!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sleepless Zombie B*tch

That's who I feel like right now.  The pressure of having family here for almost a month, trying to entertain them when it is face-meltingly hot outside and taking care of a newborn is making me a little crazy.  I stood in front of our open fridge for god knows how long trying to find a place for Z's lunch bag for school the next day.  Finally Liam had to come over and ask if I was ok.  I had pumped some milk earlier in the day for Melody to feed Z while I took my grandmother to see the Avengers.  This was my first time away from Boo and it was a toughie, also a toughie, staying awake during the movie.  It was really really great, but I just wanted to sleep.  Since I had pumped 9oz for Boo earlier, there was still another bottle left when we got home.  After the fridge staring incident, Liam promptly made my plate for dinner and then sent me to bed.  Boo has no problems taking my milk from the bottle, so it worked out really well.  She ate, I got almost 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep and my b*tch mode skipped down a few levels.  At this point I'm just trying not to have a snap at my grandmom for her little idiosyncrasies like trying to finish your sentence for you even if she has no idea what you're going to say next or never knowing what is going on during a tv show or movie.  And I'm trying not to begrudge Liam his after work naps, but when he wakes up from them and still says he's tired, I want to crazy murder him!  But once grandmom is gone and I get my daytime naps back I'll be less of a crazy, zoned out, person and more of my only semi-sleep deprived self.  It is amazing that getting two 3-hour sleep sessions at night with a wake up around 5:45am and one 2-hour nap during the day can feel like you're really lucky in the sleep department.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Graduating?

It sure looks like it! All of my grades are in and I haven't failed anything. I always seem to have that fear every semester. I still can't believe it. Graduation is this weekend, but I won't be there. I'm not too bummed about it, just that I won't get to wear the robe and walk across the stage with my two kids. That would have been freaking kickass. I still can't believe I did it or that we did it. It has been 2.5 years of traveling back and forth to Liam, 2 pregnancies (complete with morning sickness, achey back and and overall lethargy) and actual children, a doesn't make me want to cry GPA, and a boatload of loans. It's been a long crazy journey and I'm sure I'll get more sentimental about this whole process as time goes by, but right now I'm just ecstatic that Boo only woke up 2 times during the night!!!! The name of the game is now job search continuation and getting back in shape once I am cleared by my doctor's visit. Liam and I are looking forward to date night spin classes. I'm thinking we're going to turn it into a competition. We need to Biggest Loser this thing and kick some butt! Painful financial realities aside (3 plane tickets to Ireland, 1 for Liam to the UK to fix up the house, loan grace period ending in Nov, and needing to buy another car) things are going well. We both feel so lucky that we are where we are right now. Of course there are things that we need to happen or at least hope will happen, but we're together, healthy, have 2 beautiful kids and are so excited to begin this new chapter in this life journey.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Overdoing it

So the whole not-feeling-absolutely-horrible-post-birth has made me overestimate my ability to get up and go.  I overdid it yesterday by heading out with my mom and grandmom to go grocery shopping just after a mall run, got Boo's passport photos taken, went to Toys R Us to buy a kiddie picnic table for Z and the kids at the party tonight, then had to head home to drop off my mom, grandmom and Boo because all of us couldn't fit in the car with all of the groceries and the table.  After a semi-car unloading, I headed back out to pick up Z from school and Liam from work.  I got home and was a total b*tch because I was so tired.  So so so so tired, so Liam took Boo off of me and sent me to our room for a nap.  I was passed out from about 4pm-10pm with only intermittent interruptions when Boo was brought in to feed.  I really need to start pumping.  I need someone else to feed her at least once a day preferably in the evenings because I can get a nap and that's when she's awake! not during the day.

My plan for today is to make meatball sliders (buns and all), quesadillas, seven layer dip, bake muffins, brownies and possibly chocolate chip cookies.  We're having about 25 people over to say hi to Boo, my mom and grandmom and also just to hang out.  We are also trying to get rid of some of our booze that we've had since our wedding 3 years ago.  After stocking up for the wedding, we have made it through approximately 10% of our stock.  Having a party with our friends will ensure that at least 20% will be gone by the end of the night.

I am still diligently working on the job search.  I plan on contacting firms in the area in the next 2 weeks after my family leaves.  Other than researching for a job and trying to make contacts, I've been searching the web for weekend getaway deals.  Just a hotel with a really nice pool and good restaurants where we can hang with the kids and relax away from home.  The deals are amazing in the summer because NO ONE wants to be here during that time.  The countries in the region literally clear out.  You can tell that the roads are less busy, commute time decreases exponentially and everything slows down.  Usually because everyone is melting, but that's life over here!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bombs Away

I avoided it the first time around with Z, I was not so lucky this time around...projectile poop! Boo totally nailed me with her expert aim all over my chest, the pillows and duvet.  To say it was a messy morning is an understatement!  I'll certainly be more cautious with the diaper changes from now on.  I would post the pic I took and sent to Liam, but I thought that would be a bit much.

My mom and grandmother are on their way over.  And there was a delay as there always is and they won't be getting in until nearly midnight.  Which means Liam has to head to the airport at 1am-ish and that sucks because he has work at 6:30am.  I would definitely go, but I don't think anyone would let me.  I'm feeling almost normal now and have managed to shower almost everyday, so things are definitely going a lot better this time around.  Now my big hurdle is planning for the party on the weekend and figuring out what to do with my family when they are here.  This is their 4th time visiting and tourist attractions are not that plentiful, so they have pretty much seen everything.  While we will be spending some time at home, I would like to get out of the house.  Since temps are already topping 100° going for walks is almost out of the question, so indoor activities it is.  I think we might try and go to a high tea at one of the hotels and maybe go get a manicure or something.  Entertaining family indoors for 2 weeks is starting to pose a challenge.  At least there are adorable grand and great grand kids to keep them occupied!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Feeling Busy

I thought after finishing with classes (OMFG I am finished with law school!!!!!) and having a baby things would calm down...it doesn't feel like they have.  We have been running around trying to get the birth certificate sorted out and then the passport, which is a whole other trial.  The job prospects are also looking up with an interview on deck for next week.  On top of all that, my mom and grandmom are flying in Sunday night!

My goals for the next week are:
  1. Shower everyday (a bigger goal than it may seem)
  2. Actually nap when Boo naps
  3. Do some intensive research for my interview
  4. Buy a gift for a 2 year old's bday this weekend (any suggestions??)
  5. Plan the "Welcome Boo/My family is here"party
  6. Start preparations for a big freezer meal cooking day with my mom and grandmom
Other than those things I'm completely and totally happy to just hang out with the kids and rest up.  I still can't believe I actually have kids, plural.  My recovery is night and day from the last time, so I actually feel like a semi-normal human being most of the time.  Walking, sitting, and laying down all require minimal effort, but I am worried about my back.  I can already feel it starting to give way, so I'm going to have to just try to get on the floor to hold Z instead of picking her up.  It makes me feel bad that I can't give her my undivided attention anymore,  but we have amazing neighbors who will just show up and ask to take her for a while, so she's not missing out completely.  Between that and one of my other neighbors, Sherry, who is a lactation consultant, I'm feeling like the luckiest person when it comes to the non-family I have around me.  Her knowledge is definitely coming in handy, Boo is not as good with the latching as Z was.  But she's still so adorable that the pain (hopefully over soon) is definitely worth it.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

That was quick! Announcing...

Baby girl Boo!  I started having contractions around 2pm, but didn't say anything to Liam until about 5pm.  We were at our friends' house and Z was playing with their kids and having a ball.  I knew last time I had a while from first contractions to delivery, so I wasn't worried.  I downloaded a contraction app to my phone and started tracking.  Pizza arrived, we all chowed down and by this time I had told Liam, so we went home after that with a slight detour to Chris's and told his wife (who had a stomach bug, ahh) that we might need their services later in the night.  At home Liam put Z to bed, while I finished the last page of my paper!  Things were getting a bit dicey around 11pm, so we decided to call Chris to stay with Z while we went to the hospital.  Thanks to Google Voice I was texting my mom and grandmom throughout to keep them up to date.  

After a quick check in through the ER, we were up to L&D.  I was seen by a doc at 12:15am, got my beautiful epidural at 2:00am, slept for 2 hours after calling my fam in the States, woke at about 4:00am, called Liam who was in the room and told him to get to L&D and Boo was born at 4:38am.  It was a lot quicker than last time and the recovery has been a whole lot smoother.  I actually took a shower and wore real clothes for part of today!  The girl gang came over to visit us and inform me that Boo's early arrival kind of spoiled my baby shower plans which was supposed to be today.   Oh well, the best laid plans...

Z came to the hospital yesterday with Liam and throughly enjoyed her little sister.  Now we just have to keep her from climbing on, poking or accidentally scratching Boo.  It will be interesting to see how things change as a family of 4!

   Boo!

Friday, April 27, 2012

It's on?

Looks like we may be seeing for our new arrival sooner than we expected.  And I finished the last page of my paper during my mild contractions.  Having them as we speak, last time around we were already at the hospital for a check up so this time we have to make the call ourselves.  It's a little scary!  But I think now that I have finished my paper and we have just run around the house trying to pack the hospital bag...we're out of here.  Be back soon with pics of the little one!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Getting some help around the house

We may not have to wait much longer for that help around the house.  Our neighbors, who have the maid we love, have asked us if we would like to take her on.  When they hired Melody a year ago they were both working, had 3 kids at home and were just trying to make things easier.  Now only one of them is working, they have a son in university, who needs some financial help, and they feel like they just don't need as much help.  I think they are also having some issues with their teenagers taking advantage of having someone in the house to clean, ie leaving clothes, food, etc all over the house.  They came over last night to discuss the particulars of her contract, exactly what they have had her doing, her hours, time off, etc.  To say we are excited is an understatement!  She cleans and organizes like a dream, she's a great babysitter (Z adores her) and with the new baby around it will be great to have the help.

Now we just have to get used to the idea of us as employers, make sure we have all of the lines of communication open and try not to feel awkward with someone else living in our house, well, living in the little apartment in the back. Melody and her husband will be moving in next week, it's only a 100 yard move, but we have to clean up the little apartment in the back because we have just been using it as storage.  I have literally never set foot out there in the almost 3 years we have lived here.  Our friends have been really great about the whole thing saying they can take all of the furniture with them and bring over pretty much everything that they need.  We just need to order another cable box and subscribe to the Filipino stations they have over here.  I'm sure it will take some getting used to, but at this point I'm just glad to know we'll have someone working for us that we can trust, knows what she's doing and we really like.

Z will still go to nursery 3 days/wk, but after my mom and grandmom leave having Melody around will be a godsend.  I had a tough time adjusting at times with Z.  There were a few crying breakdowns in the first couple of months with Z from sheer exhaustion.  I can take a longer nap during the day by letting Melody take over a feed or just spend some alone time with Z when needed.  Keeping this house clean is nearly impossible between Z and the dust and ensuring that at least the dishes and laundry are done daily will keep me from losing it.

I've also been applying to jobs/networking like a rockstar, well as much as a super pregnant lady can be a rockstar.  I've still apparently been able to get away with just being fat when it comes to people that don't know me or maybe 4 or 5 months pregnant, so perhaps people are not as put off by the belly as I thought.  I'm looking to start work in August after we get back from our summer vacation and that's when a lot of people return to the country, so I think that it would actually work out well from a hiring perspective.  Not much will get done before that as far as processing visas, residency etc, even after a hiring decision is made it usually takes 8 weeks to process, so 3 months from now is a nice cushion for starting work. 1.5 single spaced pages to go!