Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Beyond Baby

For many moms, especially in the early days, our identities are tied to the little ones. We all know women whose names we never quite caught, who were "Bobby's mom" or "Jenny's mom" throughout all our interactions.

Time passes, and all of a sudden we're looking at children who can fix their own breakfast or cross the street unaided. We've moved beyond baby. For many moms this time is unsettling.

Enter Meagan  Francis,  blogger at The Happiest Home. She's written a practical, step by step book that leads moms into life "beyond baby". The book includes a journal and provides specific actions - baby steps - to take each week during the 40 week course. Of course, we all know 40 weeks is the length of a pregnancy, but it's also roughly the length of the school year and as many of us only think about life beyond baby when the first or last child enters school, I think the choice has a nice dual meaning.

The book is broken out into five eight-week segments: Your World, Your Home, Your Relationships, Your Self, and Your Dreams.

It turns out I'm already well on my way to regaining my personhood. I have already pondered the topics and fulfilled many of the challenges in the early segments "Your World" and "Your Relationships".  Do I think this diminished the value of the book? Heck no! There is a surprising feeling of validation to see choices you've made be recommended in print. I am sad to admit that many of the topics and challenges in the Your Home section aren't exactly relevant/useful to one who rarely has a home to call my own, one where I'm allowed to buy a new couch or paint the walls.

For me, the issues raised in the last two sections were the most useful and relevant for my stage in life.The short term is so immediate. Taking a long view of where I want to be in the future, and how (if?) it aligns with how I am living my life now, was a tough but rewarding exercise. I think my favorite week was #34, almost at the end, where she challenges us to "Align your calendar with your values." Too often the week is filled with the to do list and a little too much Facebook time.This was a great reminder for me that life is short and we must strive every week, at the least, to live according to our values else we find we have no values at all.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Family photo

We didn't think to get the photo in front of the flag like most of my classmates. Oh well. I think this is the first whole family photo in a year, and Zoltan's trying to break free....

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I'm official!

A-100 is over. I was sworn in on Friday as an official Foreign Service Officer, sworn to protect and defend the Constitution. We 74 members of The 176th (so glad you asked ...) will start to scatter. It's been a hell of a six weeks, plus the three weeks before wherein we got our invites and overhauled our lives to make this happen. I am nostalgic that it's over but ready to move forward with the next steps.

(and I very much hope my dear husband will soon edit the photos from the day, and that at least one is share-worthy, so I can post an image...)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First T ball Game

Zoltan's first T ball game was last weekend. As much as he loves the game, he really does hate being the center of attention. I am eternally grateful to the other mom who managed to convince him to put his glove on and get out on the field with the rest of the team, because my encouragement wasn't working. I had the opportunity to reflect what a different it was that he had never seen a baseball game, ever. He didn't know to drop the bat when he hit (this one was relatively common); he ran after every ball regardless of which team was at bat and where in the field it went in relation to him; and when running the bases he didn't quite "run the bases." Still, he did end up enjoying himself and was sad to learn that there's no game this week due to the school holiday.

And lucky for his development, we're going to the Nationals game this week!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Answering some questions

In the wake of my announcement, there's been a decent volume of questions and it seemed useful to answer them here. So here goes, in no particular order:
  • The job bringing us to Astana is mine. I'm the ELO/JO/FAST (over the last howevermany years we've been called Junior Officers, Entry Level Officers, and now First And Second Tour officers) so Terry gets to "follow" me. There are positions appropriate for him that would start next summer, so we're in good shape as far as bidding goes (I think/hope). Yes it does mean he gets to be primary on the parenting front. It will be good for him and them (I think/hope).
  • We're not sure yet when we'll leave but it won't be before the end of August. And I will definitely be gone before Thanksgiving. I am excited to get in line with my CDO to ask this most pressing question.
  • I'll be a Pol/Econ officer. This is exciting as I'm Consular coned so this may be the one and only time I'll get a chance to try out something else. 
  • There was a comment about me being relieved that it wasn't Tashkent. My friend, I believe you are thinking of Ashgabat. Tashkent is awesome, and spent a lot of time rivaling Astana as our #1 pick. 
  • Thank you to everyone for your good wishes. I have no idea how big our apartment will be, but it will be open to visitors. And yes, anyone within a few timezones may get hit up for a visit, or a "Who wants to meet up somewhere in western Europe, or wherever I can get to in a nonstop flight?"

A little more detail

So yes, we're going to Kazakhstan. Astana, to be exact, as there is also a post in Almaty. Yes, we're happy about this. My head is still swimming and I stayed up way too late last night looking at post information. We'll be here through the summer - I need more Russian language training before we go as I didn't test high enough (I knew that was going to happen, my abilities are nowhere near where they had been after a year back in the USA). Other than that, I am eager to be paneled so I can reach out to post with my thousand questions. That poor CLO has no idea what's coming :-)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Flag Day

... is tomorrow. Bet you thought I was going to tell you where I'm going. Ha! Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you're only a day away ....

Monday, April 7, 2014

Play Ball!

Back in the fall, Terry's dad brought us a T-ball stand and bat he found somewhere. Zoltan took to it and it turns out there's 4-6 year old T-ball in the spring. Their first practice was rained out and he finally got to try it out last Friday. He loved it!

Here's a pic of the family playing in the back yard.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Our budding artist

On Tuesday we had a note in Alex's folder that she had a piece of art that was selected to be in a county-wide "Art Fair" at a local shopping mall. Of course, her school being as disorganized as it is, the show is from Tuesday until Sunday. So we scrambled to rearrange schedules to make it happen, and we got to see her art (it's the crayon box second row left from where she's standing)!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A dedication

Yesterday's Wordless Wednesday was a photo of our freezer. You can see the ironing board on one side, and a folding chair folded up on the other. We hope that's enough to get a sense of the size of the thing.

Ida, we dedicate this post to you, and hope to make it to Berlin one day.