Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's Almost Time!!

In less than 24 hours we will head to the airport!

That's all I have to say, really.

More of a status update than a blog post, I suppose.

Our move went seamlessly. Took much longer than we thought and I had to literally drive circles around Abu Dhabi so the girls would sleep, but we all survived.

We had our first of two nights in a hotel and Grace slept in a big girl bed for the first time, no problems!

Except when her head got wedged off the edge of the bed, but oh well.

And Sophia? She turned 9 months old yesterday, went swimming for the first time today, and is sleeping like a champ in our hotel shower. (please tell me we aren't the only ones who put our pack n play in weird places like this?)

Now, we just wait until tomorrow night, at 10 pm, when we head to the airport. And yes, we are flying the red eye with a toddler and an infant. Awesomeness.

We will survive though and the next time I will be writing will be from the States! Amazing!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Value of a Dollar

One week from today we get on an airplane to head back to the States. One week!

The movers come in 5 days! (we are not returning to this house when we get back so our things have to go into storage.)

In fact, yesterday the movers dropped off a pile of boxes and tape for any "personal goods," that we wanted to pack up ourselves. And I was totally not going to pack a single thing, besides my suitcases. I really wanted to keep things as normal as possible for the girls in our house. Keep toys and books out, everything on the wall, their rooms the same, etc. But I suppose losing a few days of normalcy is better than having a stressed out Momma come the end of the week, right?

I have move induced insomnia and have been waking up at 2 or 3 am all week. Awesome.

As a side note, in the five years of our marriage, Ian has never, ever had one night of sleep issues. Lucky. I don't think he understands having your mind whirling a hundred miles per minute in the middle of the night. Sweet man, he'll rub my back though in the middle of the night, conscious or not.

So. In my sleep deprived state of mind I got to thinking. Mainly I was looking through the Target ad online, like I do every week. I was marveling at how cheap everything was (cereal! goldfish! meat! clothes!!) and started thinking about how I no longer have a real concept of how far a dollar will get me in the States. It's been over 3 years of living on a foreign currency and I just have forgotten some of the basics.

So, if you have time, would you mind answering some of these questions based on a family of 4 with two small kids?

  • How much do you spend on a weekly grocery bill, without coupons?
  • How much do you spend on a Target or Wal-Mart run?
  • How much does it cost to fill up a car? And how often do you have to fill up?
  • How often do you eat out? And how much is your average bill at a sit down restaurant? 
  • Produce is really cheap here, is it the same in the States?
  • Any other cost that surprises you on a weekly/monthly basis?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five on Friday

It's just one of those weeks.

And also, I'm having a bit of insomnia (hello, 4 AM.)

So I thought I would join in on the randomness.

{1.} Seven years ago this week I started work at a summer camp outside of Philadelphia. Kind of a random place for a Florida girl to go and work, but it happened. You see, 8 years ago I got pretty sick and the doctors couldn't figure out exactly what was wrong. I eventually had trouble standing, walking, and, at the worst of it, had trouble gripping a pencil. So, in the midst of the whole "not knowing if I was going to live or not" thing, I wrote my bucket list. And, apparently, one of the things I had to do before I died was lifeguard at a summer camp.

So, when I started to get better, I decided that there was no time like the present to get started on my bucket list. So, I got a job at a summer camp.

Well, it turned out to be a Jewish summer camp.

And I didn't know that.

So. Wtapping up. Southern Baptist girl spends 8+ weeks away from home for the first time lifeguarding at a Jewish sleepaway camp in the Poconos.

Shabbat services and all.

It was a wonderful experience (met alot of neat people from all over the world)

and it was a horrible experience (saw the depravity of the world for the first time. In a summer camp. Yes, I know the irony in that.)

And also, I got a ridiculous tan.

 Point in case.

All of that to say, that my little 5th and 6th grade girls that were in my cabin graduated this year. From high school. And are going to college. I feel so old.

{2.} Let's continue our walk down memory lane for a moment, shall we?

Ian and I celebrated our 5th anniversary last week.

It's been a crazy, fun, adventure filled 5 years.

5 years, 4 countries, 6 homes, and 2 children later and I really wouldn't change any of it.

We were talking about how we've changed and what the biggest difference we see in ourselves might be. Probably the biggest thing is just the maturity that comes with age and experience. We feel older, more steady. Slower to speak, quicker to think.

I've always been  told that I was an old soul, but now I feel like one, ha!

Ian and I were able to slip away for a night and some friends of ours watched the girls overnight. It was the first time I've left them except when I left Grace to have Sophia! We just haven't had someone to watch the girls or we would have done it much sooner and much more often. We had a snack at one of the hotel restaurants, took in the beautiful view, and had a late dinner at a romantic Moroccan restaurant.

{3.} The girls are changing so much and so quickly!

Grace has shocked me by just growing so much with her language development. Just last week she said new words completely out of the blue- vacuum, counter, taco, and Tinker Bell. I mean, what the heck? How and where did she pick those words up? I mean, I never vacuum. ha. She also is really improving in her Fine Motor control. She has shown more interest in coloring and isn't just doing random scribbles in big lines, she is actually trying to color on or in shapes and such.

She's very tall and often gets mistaken for being 3 or even a young 4! Her 2 year old molars are popping through and since she's running a fever, we've been having alot more paci and snuggles on the couch.

Sophia, well, she's crawling now. And pulling up. And outgrown her baby bath. My baby! She can clap and wave and she loves any and all food.

{4.} Speaking of girls...I really dropped the ball on Father's Day this year. I had taken these pictures and meant to order cards for our dads and have them printed in a frame for Ian to have on his desk but I just never got around to it. My husband, dad, and father-in-law are just wonderful, Godly men, who are great fathers! I am so grateful for them!

{5.} We have just a week left in our house and just 10 days until we step foot on the plane! I am ready to go. Right now! It's at that awkward place that if I pack now, we'll be in transition too long, living out of suitcases while still in our house. But I have nothing but time so I really want to do something. Kind of like de-nesting. So I've taken to trying to sell some of our least favorite furniture or things online. Though I'm not willing to let things go if it is going to be a complete financial loss, so, no luck so far. Hopefully we can make some spending money before we head to the (expensive) US!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What I Am Nervous About...

You know you are really nervous/anxious about something when you can barely get yourself to put it into words. For several days now I have sat at my computer, staring at a blank screen as I have struggled to explain all of my worries about traveling to the States for the first time in 3 years.

The things that excite me? I can pound out a list in less than 5 minutes.

The things that scare me? Those are the things that keep me awake at night but the words don't come during the day.

I'll try my best to keep the list short.

My biggest fear pertains to our travel.

And I have no problem talking about it, because I ask anyone and everyone for advice. I've read dozens of articles and blog posts on how to travel with a baby and toddler.

No offense though, but a post on how to fly with your toddler when you are looking at a 1-4 hour flight within one country is nothing to my itinerary of a 7 hour flight, 7 hour layover, and a 9+ hour flight.

With a toddler (who really isn't my big worry,) and a crawling 9 month old (who totally is my worry.)

And our first flight leaves at 1 am.
As in, in the middle of the night.
As in, you have already been up for an entire day when you have to check into the airport.

I lie awake at night wondering if we should find a convertible up right car seat for Sophia to sit in. Or how I can get her to sleep on my chest/in my arms when she never has done that. Or if she will fall out/crawl out of the bassinet if we choose to use it. Or about how I am going to entertain the two of them in an airport for 7 hours when they are extremely sleep deprived. Or about how Grace's carseat may not fit in the airplane seat but I just KNOW she will do so great if we can use it on the plane.

Luckily, this fear will just have to be dealt with and will be over and done with (plus or minus a little emotional scarring,) in just 24 hours of traveling.

My other major anxiety has to do with change.

So much has changed in the last three years.

My family has changed. They've aged. They've married. They have changed jobs and moved. They have experienced things that I have no connection with.

I've had family members pass away while overseas and some have fallen ill or terminally ill. I haven't been able to grieve with them or for them.

My friends have changed. They aren't the college aged girls that I grew up with. They have experienced pain and anguish, joy and happiness, and I wasn't around for any of it.

Their relationships with each other has altered and drifted during the last 3 years and though I know of some of the differences, it will probably hit me like a ton of bricks when I see how it first hand.

Places have changed. Things have changed (do I know how to pump my own gas? How much does gas cost anyway?)

And most of all, I have changed. I've lived for 3 years overseas. When we first left the USA we were newlyweds, fresh out of grad school, who had been living with our parents for half a year just to get by.

We aren't the same. I've lived overseas, learned a new language, lived in 3 countries, and 3 homes. I've had 2 babies and have just celebrated my 5th wedding anniversary.

All while being away from "home." Whatever that means.

So, while the good outweighs the bad, the nagging doubts and insecurities are there and very real. I know they are going to be things I have to deal with over our 6 months that we are in the States, but I hope that others have patience with me as I grieve over change that I didn't expect and rejoice over change that is worthy of praise.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What I Am Excited About...

I am so excited to travel to the States this summer! I am counting down the weeks and am almost to the point that I can tell you how many days until we leave. There are many, many things, people, and events that we have missed over the last 3 years of living outside of the USA and I can not wait to experience some things and share them with my girls, such as:

4th of July
Baseball Games
Publix and Target.
Good Food
Running shorts!
Real cold weather
Filling up my own gas tank- haven't done that in 3 years!
Long drives
Visiting my grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Lots of time poolside
Seeing my sister and Ian's brothers with our girls.
My cousin's wedding
Going for walks
Kissing my husband in public
Holding Ian's hand in public
Hugging in public
Lots of date nights (thanks in advance, grandparents, for the babysitting!)
Drive up ATMs and grocery stores that are not in malls
Waiters that are from America
Short sleeves and Shorts
College Football
Seeing my sister's house
Sophia's 1st Birthday- with family!
Decorating a tree with family!
Christmas carols on the radio and in stores.
Getting my hair cut
The beach- we have beaches here but it just is not the same

Then there is a whole other list of foods  and restaurants that I am missing like:
Tijuana Flatts
Jason's Deli
MiMi's Cafe
Publix subs, chocolate chip cookies, and sweet tea

Pork, in any and all forms, especially deli ham and breakfast sausage
Good beef and steak
A variety of cereals
FROZEN foods- you don't realize how nice it is to have a good selection of frozen foods until you don't have it!
Little Debbie snacks- I have no idea why I am missing this, but I am
Banana pudding and sweet tea

Friday, June 7, 2013

Five Years of Writing

Five years ago, I sat down at the keyboard of my college laptop and breathed in.

It was just 10 days before I was going to get married and I wanted to chronicle my life and have a way to express myself through those early days of marriage life. I had read several blogs for months and was addicted to how they would forever have moments of time captured in the lyrics of their lives melody.

My first three posts were not much of anything, just getting my feet under me really. A New Beginning quoted Proverbs 31 and gave the backstory for my blog title and url (Far More Than Rubies and Witheagerhands.) A Deep Breath...And Begin was my first stream of conscious post and was followed by my nearly panicked A First post about moving my things to our apartment and getting it set up for when we returned from our honeymoon.

I love those early day posts. So simple. So like me. List making. Planning. Dreaming. A heaping portion of sarcasm with a side of irony. I loved to share my funny moments and learned to really laugh at myself during that first year.

Funny how much I still enjoy writing. I may not have a ton of readers, but I love all of you who faithfully stop by. I don't do ads or giveaways or sponsors, but my blog is where I can share with family and friends, both near and far about what is going on in our lives.

I invest in my family by taking part of my down time in the evenings and chronicling our lives. I have no clue how long this will go on but I am so thankful that technology allows for this.

And I am ever so thankful for five years of YOU, the readers. You give me advice, pray for us, encourage me, and make me laugh with your comments. A community that I never expected to partake in.

So, here's to five more years of blogging. Of laughing over, crying about, and sharing the joy that is my life with my family.

I'd love to hear from you....How long have you been reading Far More Than Rubies?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Grace's Broken Arm

Last Thursday, the girls and I met some friends at a local mall to play. Grace loved the blow up rock wall and slide and the trampoline that was set up outside of Toys R Us and she spent nearly an hour climbing up slides, riding bikes, and pushing cars inside of the store.

Of course, the moment I began digging around in the stroller for something is when disaster struck.

I looked up to see Grace falling backwards off of a one foot high platform (where the bikes were displayed,) and her right arm was straight behind her.

Before she even hit the ground I knew it would not be good. The security guard tried to catch her but we were all just too far away.

She screamed and cried and immediately asked to go "night-night," and asked for her paci. It broke my heart. I snuggled with her and tried to figure out if she was hurt or just freaked out. My friend ran off to buy some candy (I know, we are awesome, but we couldn't get her to stop crying and we didn't know if it was because she was hurt or not!)

Of course, five minutes and a fistful of jellybeans later and she was fine. We headed home and put her down for a nap but when she got up, she was favoring that arm and wasn't putting weight on it. She would move it and even use it, but I knew she wasn't using it like she should.

We really wrestled with whether or not to take her in to the doctor. I even called my mom to ask her opinion. In the end we decided to see how she did the following day.

The next day was Friday, our church day here. We went to church, Grace played in nursery, and then we had our church's annual luncheon at a hotel. Grace ran around like a maniac and played hard, but she was still not using that hand. She had a sad moment when she was running in the ballroom and tried to run outside and ended up smacking into the glass door. Poor baby. She got a big bruise in the outline of a circle on her cheek!

We came home and she napped but when she got up from her nap and I was changing her, she cried out a couple of times. That was the last straw for me. I knew something was just not right. I took Grace into our local ER and we were able to see the doctor after a 2 hour wait. The doctor didn't know what was wrong but sent us for x rays, which were traumatizing. Grace cried and said "All done!" over and over.

By the time we got back to the doctor, the x rays had been developed and sent to the doctor. Immediately she saw the fracture, at the top of her right humerus bone, the upper arm. They couldn't find a sling small enough for her so they wrapped her up in an ace bandage and said that we should see the orthopedist within 10 days.

Grace hated the bandages the first day and I had to rewrap them every 10 minutes until I figured out a way to wrap it to cover her hand and keep her upper arm parallel to her body. We got into the doctor on day four after the ER and he downgraded her wrap to a fabric triangle sling and said she has a green stick fracture.

She isn't in much pain but keeping her off of it is a definite challenge! She misses using her hand but I hope to only have to use the sling for another week!

Hopefully this will not be the first of many breaks!

Monday, June 3, 2013

{33, 34, 35, 36}

{29, 30, 31, 32}

Sunday, June 2, 2013

One Month From Today

One month from today, we will get on an airplane, travel for 26 hours, then step foot into America.

For the first time in over 3 years.

It will be the first time my girls have ever been to their "home" country.
The first time they will meet much of their extended family.
The first time they will experience American food and traditions that we hold near and dear.

I'm excited and I'm nervous, all at the same time. We have alot of things planned into our time there and we also have alot of scheduled down time. Our main goal is to spend time with family and to reconnect with the people we love so much.

We could be there for almost six months. And that's a long time to be living out of a suitcase. We've arranged to stay in a home near my parents' house near Nashville, TN, for 3 months and a home near Ian's parents' house in Orlando, FL, for 3 months. Hopefully that will give us a little more of a permanent feeling and that it will feel more like "our place."

We'll be trying to stay in those two places for most of the time, except for when we have speaking engagements in churches around the South. We also have a trip up to Pennsylvania and Washington DC for my cousin's wedding and to spend time with my sister!

I can't explain how much we are looking forward to this trip and how long we have been counting down to it. I have a feeling that this last month is going to inch by and fly by, all at the same time! As I count down the weeks, I will try to share what I am excited about and what I am nervous about!