05 January 2014

Denial….it's not just a river in Egypt.

I am very good at avoiding things that I do not want to do or think about. If I don't think about it, then it won't really happen right?  That's how this move has been….while I am SO happy to be heading home, I get completely overwhelmed if I think all about that is involved with this move.  So instead I go to my happy place and ignore it.  (I made spreadsheets and lists and more lists)

At least I did…until now.  Now it is real.  REALLY real.  People have started coming to pick up things that we are selling.  We had to literally sell ALL electronic devices, cars, and some furniture.  In my mind, we had loads of time once we got back from our Sydney trip to deal with all of these "minute" details right?  WRONG….we have exactly 12 more days in this house…9 until the movers come and start loading our stuff in containers.  Spreadsheets don't fail me now!

On top of all of that, I have had to try and find somewhere to live when we move back.  Our new house will not be ready until April.  And while we have had such generous offers from friends to stay with them during those three months….we still want them to be our friends =)  I think after living with the Colliers for three months, they would RUN as fast as they could from us.  So I have been apartment hunting.  Which does not seem so bad, but then we also have to have a plan for furniture.  Our sea shipment will not arrive in the States until 2 or 3 months after it leaves here (hopefully).  The only items we will have with us, is what we can fit in our 8 suitcases on the plane and then our air shipment that should arrive with 2-3 weeks.  That is 4x4 cube which will mostly hold clothes, and a few kitchen items.

Thankfully there are solutions and amazing friends that will help us sort everything out.  So I think the real reason I have been avoiding most everything is because I hate leaving and saying goodbye.  On one hand, I am eager to get back home and settled back into life there.  But on the other hand, I will miss the adventures and friends we have made here.  Luckily I know that the friends we have made here will be lifelong friends!

So Perth friends, if I am drinking a glass of wine at 10 in the morning, don't judge….I am coping =) and Tomball friends, if we show up at your door with a suitcase in hand, let us stay for at least one night ok? =)

22 December 2013

Things I've learned

So we decided to do this whole expat thing for several reasons….the biggest being the life experiences for our kids.  In the process however I thing I have learned some things along the way….so I am going to share them with you.

1.  Australia is called "The Land Down Under" because we are literally down under everything else.  Look at it on a map.

Never did I say these would be earth shattering lessons…none the less, moving on.

2. I have grown a lot more cautious about things since getting older and having kids.

3.  There is no rhyme or reason to my organization.  Some days I am uber organized and other days I just throw caution to the wind and hope things work out the way they are supposed to.

4.  I miss teaching…but when if I go back to teaching I would change somethings in the way I teach.

5.  Being an expat is hard.  Certainly for the obvious reasons, but for me in the beginning of this experience, it really made me doubt myself.  I always thought I was a pretty friendly, easy going person that made friends easily.  When we first got here, it was hard to make friends with the locals.  They already had their lives established, their bonds formed….trying to break into that was not easy.  MANY days I would come home from dropping the girls off at school and want to crawl back into bed.  I started to think that maybe I was not the person I thought I was.  Maybe people back home really didn't like me, they tolerated me.  Then I realized I had to stop trying to make myself into what I "thought" people wanted me to be.  And just be happy being me.  It was okay to spend time by myself and find things that I liked to do.  And in reality, people that I made friends with did not expect me to be a certain way….they did like me for me.  Also, I had this expectation that I would have the close friendships with people like I do with people back home.  In reality, this is rare.  My best friend and I have been friends for 20 years…. It takes time to foster friendships.

6.  Making friends with another expat is MUCH easier.  The stages of your friendship grow much quicker than a normal friendship would.  They become your extended family, where you spend holidays with them, you celebrate traditions that are not celebrated in your new country, you complain about the things you miss from home, you get excited about the new things you are learning together, you share "how tos", and "what NOT to do".  They become lifetime friends that you may not see for a while, but you will always have that "remember when…"

7.  I am still very much in love with my husband.  He is not perfect and I am not perfect, but we are perfect for each other.  After 14 years of marriage, we have both changed, but we have GROWN together.

8.  I have become more interested in life's EXPERIENCES than life's THINGS.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE purses and can find any excuse to buy one.  But in all honesty I have enjoyed doing things with my family more.  Seeing the expression on the kid's face when they stepped in the Indian Ocean for the first time, or smiles on my parents' face when they pet a kangaroo, or the look of terror when they drove  in the car with me for the first time.  On the left side of the rode ;)  Or how much fun my inlaws had visiting Freemantle on the train.  They were all experiences that money could not buy and that could not be replaced.  Let's be honest, when my time is up, I can't take my purses with me…but I can take my memories.

9. I do not like to share my french fries or gummy bears.  I am mean like that.

10. Music can really put you in a good mood.  It makes my kids SOOO happy and fun to be around.  I need to make a playlist for my life.

11.  I have the BEST family and friends.

12.  If I sweat because I have exerted energy I will not die.

13.  Koalas are heavy.

14.  Raising girls is HARD work….raising my two is even harder.

15.  I DO NOT like Pate.  At all, nothing about it.  Seriously has to be one of the worst things I have tried.

16.  I miss queso….

17.  I am HORRIBLE at saying goodbye.  It goes back to that whole getting too vested in my relationships.

So that's it right now.  I will add more as I think of them or learn new things =)

I finally figured it out...

I am 37 years old (about to be 38) and am for the first time in my life okay with my body.

To most I have seemed confident and self assured, and for the most part I am, just not with my body image.  While I have never really had a weight issue, I still was not satisfied with how I looked.  As with most women, there was always something I would change about myself.  And I usually complained about it, but never really did anything.

BUT I figured it out, I was complacent.  I did nothing about it.  Sure I would try to eat right and "maybe" exercise.  But in the end, I really didn't take accountability for how I treated myself.

So this is not earth shattering news, but the minute you start empowering yourself and really do something that makes you feel good, you will feel better about yourself.

For me it was starting an exercise routine and sticking with it.  I am still not skinny mini, but I have gotten toned and I am seeing results and I am proud of myself.  That is the biggest part of this…I am PROUD of myself and am ok with my body.  Because at the end of the day, I know that I am doing something that makes me feel good and at the same time and being healthy.

Now, let's be honest, I would have NEVER had made the time to do this for myself back home.  I just wouldn't…and I know that.  But I was given this amazing opportunity and what started out as something to do socially has become something I look forward to doing.

The BEST part about this journey is that my girls are seeing both Dustin and I live a healthy lifestyle.  We do not discuss weight or being "fat"….we stress being healthy and being active.  Hopefully they will continue be active in their life, but more importantly I want them to be confident about themselves and their bodies.  To respect themselves, to be empowered, and be strong.

So to my friends back home, hold me accountable….ask me how my exercise routine is going…let me work out with you, join me in working out and help me continue this journey.

Busy but blessed…

This is the what the past 4 months of our lives looked like….


And those were just the things I had put on our calendar…

Before it became official, we knew there was a possibility that we would be leaving Perth earlier than expected.  At that point, we decided to forgo a Christmas trip home and instead spend the $$$ on trips here in Australia.  We asked the girls what they wanted to see before we left Australia, and thus our trips to Kangaroo Island (Morgan) and the Great Barrier Reef (Addie) were planned.  We also decided to throw in Sydney at New Year's Eve because we weren't busy enough. 

Our lives are busy as it is with swim 3 days a week, dance 2 days a week, playdates, piano lessons, training for triathlons and various other extra curricular activities…so you throw in three trips, a three week visit from my parents, Christmas, birthdays, AND packing and planning a move internationally, oh AND building a house from half way across the world and it is a wonder that Dustin and I have not completely lost it yet.  Don't get me wrong, we are close…

But those moments when I truly question our sanity, I realize that despite being busy, we are blessed beyond belief.  

Why are we busy on a daily basis?  
Because we have two talented and able bodied children that can participate in activities.
Because we have friends to spend our time with and enjoy each other's company.  
Because I was given an opportunity to get fit and learned to enjoy being active.
Because we have family that loves us enough to fly 24 hours to visit AND put up with us for three weeks!!!
Because we have built a FULL life here in Perth.  

Getting on that plane on January 28th and saying goodbye to all the wonderful people we have met here and all the amazing experiences is going to be much harder than I realized.   

So I will take being this kind of busy any day, and I hope that our family has many more amazing experiences together in the years to come.  

03 June 2013

Daddy's Day

Some days are just daddy's day....one of the girls picks him and that is all they are focused on.  Not really sure why it happens...it might be that he is nicer than me that day or doing something more fun than I am.  But whatever the reason, at some point, Mo and Addie will choose to do nothing but hang with Daddy for the day.

Yesterday was Addie's day.  Like a lost puppy, she followed Dustin everywhere!  Whenever she needed something, it was Daddy who came to the rescue.  If permission was needed, Daddy had to grant it.  I think these days are important....they learn to appreciate their father, learn to rely on him, and most of all they both learn about each other.

It can be exhausting at times, especially with a child like Addison, but I know that Dustin would not have it any other way and cherishes those times.

So what did they do yesterday?  Well a little bit of this and lot of that...but the BEST part was grilling our dinner (steaks, chicken, and tuna) and making S'mores.

As Addie brought in the plate of cooked meat she says "uh Mom, can you be really careful, like REALLY careful with this meat?  Daddy and I were really careful and worked really hard as a team to make this yummy."

So I said of course I would be careful, but I had to cut the meat would that be ok?  She simply replied. "yeah, just don't drop the meat on the floor".  Well okay then...

So what did I do while they enjoyed their cooking together?  Well I enjoyed a glass of wine, took pictures, and chatted with an exhausted Mo (so exhausted, she missed the s'mores).  In the end, all four of us had a good time together  =)

26 May 2013

They say it's your birthday...

Well for another 6 months, Dustin is officially older than me.  I have to embrace those six months since my wrinkles are showing before his.  Like most men, he is aging gracefully and still is as cute as the day I met him ;)

As we creep closer to 40, I tend to think of our age more in terms of how long we have been together rather than our actual age.  So Dustin and I have been together for 15 years!!  Wow, not sure that makes me feel any younger....

15 years together and you really start to get to know someone.  In many ways, Dustin and I balance each other out.  He is more logical, I am more emotional. He is an observer and quieter.  I am not.  We choose different things to get worked up about, so we can calm each other down if necessary.  On the things that matter though, we are very similar.  I think that as you grow older with a person you do change, and while your love never waivers, you do learn to love different things about each other.  

When you first meet Dustin, it can take a while to figure him out.  But if you take the time to get to know him, you will be glad you did.  He is quick witted, smarter than the average bear, amazing with music knowledge (he would win on "Name that Tune"), caring, opinionated, strong willed, and fiercely protective of his family. 

I am beyond blessed to call him my husband and have my daughters call him Daddy.  LOVE YOU to the moon and back, Dusty!!! XOXOXOX

Dusty and his girls...

Chips and Queso...Aussie style (Addie LOVES feta cheese)

Birthday Cake...Chocolate Chip with cream cheese frosting

Those were the only candles we could find.  

Family shot =)  (Anais is like family!)

Day ? of pictures....

So that didn't take long for me to lose track of my days....but here is another picture.  

Morgan had a race night on Friday....outside...in the COLD weather.  The pool had steam coming off of it because of the temperature difference.  Oh how this is different from swim team back home where we were sweating our tushies off ;)

Addie, such the trooper supporting her sister =)