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 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  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!