02 October 2014

For your kind attention:

I realize for my  *ahem* worldwide readers that this one is for my local Florida homies. (but you can go here if you want to get in on the adoption fundraising help!)

Most of you who read this blog are good friends of ours and you already know that we are in the process of adopting again. Didn't know? Consider yourself informed!

We will be having our homestudy done next week and soon after Birth Mothers here in Florida will begin viewing our profile book. One of them will hopefully choose us... quickly!

The photo shoots begin November 1st and we could very well have a "i5" in our arms by then. (who needs a nap just thinking about newborn nights? This lady! ) But we may very well be waiting for a good long while. Either way, we want to have money ready to go!

We wanted to give you guys a small sampling of some of the photos Anthony has taken.

For the last 2 years he has been studying and practicing taking photographs and, in my ultra-humble, 100% completely unbiased opinion, he's fantastic.

Brilliant, y'all.

To the best of our ability and with complete lack of control of the weather or your child's behavior, we will do our best to give you quality photos that you'll be happy and proud to share in your home and with your friends and loved ones.

And the fact that you'll get the digital files?

Way. Awesome.

Photographers who do this full-time virtually never give out their files. If Anthony ever decides to do this professionally, he won't be giving them out either.

So. Now's your chance.

Photos of you and your Sweetie and all your Cuties.

Christmas cards galore.

'S tempting offer, ain't it?

And since our fifth and LAST cutie (cross my heart I'm serious about that!) is headed our way soon and if you haven't heard, adoption is expensive.

Yo soy no dinero. Comprende?

So. Here's a snippet of my man's skills:

People don't get much prettier than this family!

...and then there's us and ours...

...and not to spoil future blogposts or anything, but we went to Ecuador this summer...
Julia Roberts and her hubs.
Ecuadorian Charlie Sheen (aka Alex)
Ecuadorian Grandpa who is way adorable.
Mi padre, en Ecuador.

I hope you're becoming more confident in scheduling a time slot.
But because I love him and am enamored with him...here's a few more...

Ivy and a Florida sunset

Do we even need to explain why we want to adopt again? Geesh this kid.

Mr. Caleb, Senior.

We miss you Cha-leb, and the Starbucks in our neighborhood!

Hindu shrine worshipper. Great photo. Also this is to show that in case your kids find a paint can just before the shoot, he can work with it!

 The orange groves around our house needed to be mowed us to take pictures in them.

Ya get the drift?

Hope we can take some of your family soon!

24 September 2014

Moving: The People

There's that whole other aspect of moving that is worse than the stuff.


Leaving people.

I raise my right hand and solemnly swear that the best part about any place is the people.
Anyone else ever miss the lady at Tesco who insists on holding your baby at every visit?
We LOVE our people.

All of them. The ones from near and far. The ones who've been there forever and stay and the ones who came quickly and leave quickly-er.

We make community readily and with open arms, knowing parts of it will be shorter lived than any of us like to admit.

 So the roots go deep because our hearts are ready and soft. Probably because of all the space in our hearts made by leaving home. Its not that "home" vanishes, its just that you can't quite feel it up close and personal.
So many things borrowed from this lady!
You know that person who rescues you each time at your hour of need? Like when you need a cake for your kid's birthday party? She totally acts like its no big deal.
It's tempting to harden up. Close-up shop and just stick to us. The pain of those deep roots being transplanted far out of cell phone range seems like a good enough excuse.

But then, if you do that, the opposite of loving your people is being lonely and isolated. 

Isolation is no bueno. You don't even have to live overseas or move every 2 to 3 years to know that.
People > Not people

Homesickness can be cured by people.

Bar none. 

I miss our people in Malaysia. 

Thanks to modern technology I vicariously celebrate over facebook about pregnancies, school starting again, people going out to eat at restaurants I love, and just in general scrolling through their faces and loving them without being able to hug them.

Its just kinda crazy how they helped make a place home and now I miss them just like I missed home before.

What treasures!
You may have noticed it's taken me a while **cough***3 months***cough** to get back to blogging. Honestly we've been busy doing tons of stuff with all our people who we love here. Luckily we didn't have to move from a place we loved to a new place this time. We got to come back to familiar faces. 

If not for these who have known us for years, there might be more gloom in this post. So I'm thankful for the ones who are just miles away instead of continents and oceans.

Because the continents and the oceans just seemed so big today.  I got an email from a dear friend- who has ALSO moved away from Malaysia, just days after we did- and I miss her right now.  No sushi lunch possible today.

And it's not just me and Anthony. The kids do too. Just because they don't blog, don't miss their hearts and the roots of others that grow there as well. 

Isaiah: "Dats Me and 'Sawah'" (Sarah)
 Today was just the day to write about moving and all the people moving moves into your hearts.
If you happen to be one of those people (whether your picture is on this post or not!) We love and miss you!

For the rest of y'all, the next post is about our awesome Vacay to the UK! Ok? Deal? Cross my heart it won't be 3 months from now!

05 June 2014

Moving: The Stuff

Moving to an expatriate is like....


What IS it like?

* Swimming to a fish *
Hmmm. No. I think fish probably like to swim. I do not like to move.

* Pulling a splinter out of an infected thumb *
Nope. Though it is a pain and there is some little relief afterward. But sometimes the scars from having to say goodbye to friends and places and things...well, they just stick with you bigger than that.

* a shell to a hermit crab *
That's not right either, but crawling in a shell and avoiding the process of packing sounds pretty good right about now. Or maybe even dreaming that moving could be way easier if they could just pick the whole house up instead of bringing out the boxes.

*Changing a poopy diaper to a Mom*
Maybe its just because I've done it already this morning...but I think I'm getting closer.  Changing a poopy diaper is no fun, but when it's done and over, the people involved are happier because of the lack of stink and diaper rash avoidance.  With moving when the packing is done and the stink of the last box is actually packed up, there is indeed, relief.  But like a kid dropping a deuce in his dipe, its just a matter of weeks or months before you have to deal with boxes again on the other end.

I'm starting to see metaphors aren't my strong suit.

We are in the middle of packing, y'all.

And by, "We are in the middle of packing." I mean that in 11 days the movers are coming to pack up our house and I have yet to do anything.
Moving in. 2011. Nearly 3 years to the day.
This is partly due to a lifetime of being a skilled procrastinator. Do understand that in my head I have EVERYTHING organized. Its all under control. No fear.

The thing is, because its already organized in my head, I'm really not that anxious about it. I'm excited about this summer and seeing family and doing some traveling. I'm just dragging my heels about up-ending our house. Life is crazy enough at the end of a school year and the kids are anticipating leaving in their own ways, sometimes, understandably, with some anxiety.

So maybe I haven't yanked everything off the shelves and walls yet because of that reason?

Moving in. 2011. So many memories made in this space since then!
 If the producers of Hoarders wanted to help cure people of their hoardom, they could ship them off to foreign countries, then make them move every 1 or 2 or 3 years and limit them to a 20ft container. They'd have no choice.

 It could be like a reunion show every season, "The Smith Family is moving again! Did they return to their hoarding ways? Can they get their belongings into the crate in time?"

Getting to downsize and purge crap that has been accumulated over the last 3 years is cathartic and healthy.

The moving company is a really good one and our stuff will be in responsible hands.

This type of organizing  (even though it feels like its UNorganizing things at moments its really not) is right up my alley.  Like decorating, but in reverse, but still in the same sort of category as decorating. And I love that.

So my only guess as to the delay in getting started is that pulling the stuff down is hard simply because it is the very thing that brings front-and-center the reality that we have to say goodbye. (even though we plan to come back! just not to THIS particular house) In a month's time, life as we know it today will not be continuing like it is today. No way to stop it.

Befores and Afters. Making a house a home.

But I'd like to not think about that goodbye part. And so we return to the procrastinating thing again.

Even though we like our house, our neighborhood, the relative developed country we live in...its the people we'll have to say goodbye to once the stuff is packed up that makes it the hardest.

But we've learned as well in the packing-of-house we've done over the years that saying goodbye IS important. Loss is loss. And not ignoring it, but embracing it and owning it and doing it well, is important to saying goodbye the best way possible.  Even, strangely enough, if you have to say goodbye to some inanimate objects in the process.

Today is a bit of a school holiday. The perfect time to really start sorting.  And, importantly....To let the kids do part of it. 

As much as I think materialism is one of the great evils of the world, at the same time, the emotions of parting with "stuff" and packing it away, throwing out the non-essentials (essential in this sense is totally in the first world definition), deciding what's "important" enough to keep is a huge part of the process. There is character building in that decision making- for the grown-ups and the little people- and helping us to confront our reality head-on and with strength.

While we go through the toy buckets and the bookshelves, we'll talk about what's to come.
We'll talk about what we loved that we're leaving behind.
Remember and prepare all at the same time.
Be sad maybe at points, but then be happy in the hopes and plans to come.

You HAVE to remember what's to come. This is key.

And simply acknowledge that even matchbox cars and a paint color might need a heartfelt goodbye for whatever reason.  Then rest in how good God has been to us in this house and all we have seen him do. That with every decision to leave something behind, we will keep coming back to the fact that we never have to pack him up, say goodbye to him, or leave him behind.  That he goes before us and is with us. Near.

And though tomorrow isn't promised, packing up our stuff necessitates looking forward.  We are so blessed to be excited about what's before us. Time with family and friends we've been denied time with. Places we're ready to see and explore. Memories we'll make in new places.


Ok. The suitcases haven't even seen the light of day and here I am going way too philosophical.  There's no approaching the sock drawer in this condition. (like we wear socks here)

So here I'll stop about all our stuff.

We are moving. It is happening.

And the stuff is starting to get packed in 3, 2, 1...

31 May 2014

Eleven at Eleven

My blog-friend Emily tagged me in her post. Seeing as how I was REALLY hoping to squeeze in one more blogpost this month, but don't have the brain power to form my own thoughts, this was a timely gift. Literally doing this at the 11th hour!

1. What is your favorite type of cheese? 

The last few times I've bought cheese just for the sake of cheese, it's been "Port Salut." A softer kind with a not-too-bitter rind. But honestly, cheese is so expensive here that the most often consumed kind is sliced American and one of the cheaper "feta" offers...however because that Feta isn't made in Greece, it's just called "cheese" on the box and you have to look at the picture to realize you're getting feta.  #firstworldproblems
2. What are you excited about?
UK vacay, bay-bay.

3. How did you celebrate your last birthday? 
I have no clue. I think one of my kids was sick? My husband and I share a birthday, so you'd think it'd be memorable every year???
4. What is on your bedside table?
Indeed, what isn't on my beside table? 
5. What do you order from the movie theater concession stand?
Popcorn and a drink. Because here in Malaysia they serve caramel popcorn as the standard movie theater popcorn. I wasn't a fan of popcorn til I moved here. Also, I totally sneak in candy from the "Tid bits" store, which is sometimes wrongly labeled "Tit bits." (true story) 

6. Do you have a garden? What’s growing?I'm going to answer this in the Malaysian British-English version of the question and not the American-English version in which it was asked.
My "garden" has grass for my kids to play on and I have some exora/honeysuckle plants along with some big leafy bushes to hide the gaps in the wall in my garden and provide a bit more privacy. I do have a rosemary plant that I grew from a cutting from one of my neighbors, but it is the only edible thing. See there, I didn't stay strong... couldn't resist answering like an American.
 7. Any summer plans?
See above.
Pack up our house and sort all our belongings into 3 piles... "Bring with us," "Sell/give/throw away," and "put in storage."
Bali for a week.
Like I said, above, but it bears repeating because we are WAY excited about it. London and Edinburgh.
Maybe Peru. 
8. Which TV couple(s) are you rooting for?
Hmmm. Sorry. I sorta think reality tv is ridiculous. Plus, we don't have that package on our satellite, so I wouldn't know anyway.
So I'm gonna go with my latest obsession and say, "Rory and Amy."
9. What’s the last thing you bought?
Papa Roti. Its a coffee bun? Coffee roll? Not sure, but we call them by the name of the shop that sells them. Ever so slightly crumbly crispy on the outside, hollow center with melted butter on the inside. I bought 3. (to share) 

10. What’s one thing you are passionate about?
Adoption. And Naptime.
 11. What are you grateful for this week?
Our neighbors. I usually work hard to never have to ask anyone to watch my kids for me. It's not a weakness to need that or anything, I just figure I'm their Mama and it's one of my top jobs.  But this week. Goodness gracious. I have needed our co-workers/neighbors/overseas family who live next door to help me nearly everyday watching the girls for awhile. A couple times they've even washed the dirty dishes in my sink!