Sunday, December 15, 2013

10 Things That Will Make You Laugh or Cry

We've been dying of the cold snap we've been having out here in So Cal. I think this might be the forecast for this weekend.

(I'm not sure who created this picture, but if you know let me know! I'll gladly credit the artist)

I know you're dying for some good reading as I've been slightly MIA these days so why don't you check out these brilliancies:

1) Oh Coke, you've done it again! Just one more reason its ALWAYS Coke and never Pepsi. This new commercial captures the ups and downs of early parenthood in a surprisingly realistic way. I love the part at the end where she has her second pregnancy test. That's basically the way it went down with us, "Oh no…oh yay!"

2) For When Motherhood is Kicking Your Ass post by The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking (which has been moved over here). Motherhood is hard work and you are not alone.

3) I am love love loving the Camp Patton blog. Love her writing, love her family, love Grace, the author. Yes I am blog stalking you! So real and authentic, so sarcastic and funny. Makes me feel like I'm not alone in my survival mode with 2 littles under 2. Especially love this post on surviving 2 under 2 and this one on surviving 3 under 3. AND she' pregnant with number 4! Talk about SUPERMOM!

4) This post on hanging in there during the little years. Don't read in a public place. Ready the tissues.

5) This video made me and all these other moms cry. In a good way.

6) And now for some holiday cheer. Love the Piano Guys!

7) More holiday cheer. You've probably already seen the Little Drummer Boy video by Pentatonix as it was going around Facebook but have you seen this video of them singing The Carol of the Bells? Ahhhh-mazing! Kind of reminds me of this version of The Cup Song.

8) The 21 Day Sugar Detox book. Informational, short, and fun to read. I plan to start this plan…tomorrow.

9) What you want more children?! Well said, Laugh With Us blog, well said..

10) And finally, you think YOU live in cold weather? Jimmy Kimmel reminds us that Southern Californians are really the ones suffering through winter.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I am a Triangle...or am I?

Its late. Not as late early as I would stay up procrastinating in college, but its late for me these days. I'm utterly exhausted but I find myself craving quiet alone time and this is then. Some people are early risers, appreciating the quiet of the morning.

(Que happy bird sounds and flutey Disney music. Now que record scratching sound.)

Some people, on the other hand, are night owls. It could (and has!) been said about me that I am not a morning person. It may have even been said that I am (I may or may not be quoting verbatim) "like a bear with a sore toe" in the morning. And the hubs may or may not have agreed to not take anything I say before 7am (or sometimes 10am) seriously. Let's be honest, I truly hate mornings. I may be the only person who flips off the sunrise should I be unfortunate enough to witness it.

I'm going to be hating life come 6:30am when the littles wake up (and every 2ish or so hours as I feed the baby. Geez that baby!) I should go to bed, but I'm enjoying the burst of creative energy that only late night pintrest perusing can initiate!

ANYWAYS. I came across an insightful post on repatriation over at Naomi Hattaway's blog. (You should go check out her post, it has illustrations and everything!) It describes the ex-pat experience something like this: Your home culture is represented by a circle. You, a circle, move to another culture, represented by a square. So you, a circle, live in a square culture. Over time you adapt to the square ways but you never quite loose your circle-ness, and you become something new, a triangle! You've changed quite a bit but are not quite a square. Then you return to your home culture, the land of circles, but you don't go back to being a circle, you're a triangle now! You will never go back to completely being a circle, because now you have grown and evolved into something new, a triangle. If two triangles have a child, the child becomes something completely different, a star! A star is even more of an anomaly because they have potentially spent little to no time in the country where their parents originated from, leading them to identify even more strongly than their parents with the host culture as their home culture.

So am I a star or a triangle? I probably more closely resemble something like this:

I very much identified with this description because I have always felt like I don't quite belong or fit in anywhere, yet I can adapt almost everywhere (except for that brief stint in Indonesia but that's another story). I didn't fit in to the culture I grew up in. I didn't truly fit in to my "home" culture, at least not as a kid. I suppose I became a star; my family became my home culture. It helps to have this perspective now as I am moving my children to another country. Its okay that we don't really fit in, and its okay that maybe we won't totally fit in back home either. Our home culture will always be a big part of us, but the new culture will be part of us too.

Readjusting to life back home is often more challenging than adapting to life in the host culture because its so unexpected. After all, that's where you are FROM! Its often surprising to find that you have changed so much! People in the host culture expect you to be different; people in your home culture expect you to be the same.

So if you meet a missionary, or an awkward teenage daughter of said missionary, this may explain some of their quirkiness. They may seem out of it because although they may have originated from your country, they identify more strongly with another culture now. That's a difficult, beautiful, and sacred thing! And you know what would help? Invite them to your gatherings, into your family, and into your culture. Let them know that you appreciate them for who they are, even though they may not quite fit in. They don't quite fit in where they live, either.

I suppose this is what life is like regardless of whether or not you move to a foreign country. We start out one way in the beginning, and by the end we're something completely different. We've grown, changed, evolved and hopefully become better, more loving and accepting individuals. We are, after all, global citizens of this great, big, small world.

What about you? Are you a triangle or a star? Do you know someone who is a triangle or a star?
Monday, October 14, 2013

I do not think it means what I think you think it means

Believe it or not the post that has gotten the most hits was Life as a TCK-20 Years Later. Because I enjoyed writing that post more than anything else I have posted, and because I have had a hard time sticking to writing just about babywearing and cloth diapering, I am beginning to think my blog, when I  blog, has taken a new turn. Its as if Inigo Montoya is saying to me, "I do not think it means what you think it think it means". I don't think this blog is turning out to be what I think I thought I wanted it to be. I think its going to be something slightly or completely different.

For example, since I wrote that post on being a TCK, my husband and I are up and moving our little family to Shanghai, China. Even a few months ago as I struggled with my feelings about growing up in a country that was not my own, I didn't think I would be moving our daughters (oh yeah, this summer I gave birth to beautiful AJ! But that story is for another day.) across the world to Asia, a place I swore I would never live! Its a little bit of a long story as most twists and turns of life are, and here we are relocating, even excited about it!

I'm looking forward to moving, to having a change. I suppose there's a little restless corner of my heart filled with wanderlust. When I experience travel and new cultures and am tired, the wanderlust is satisfied. But when I have recovered and processed my experiences, the heart grows restless and longs for a new place. Perhaps its the third culture-ness in me that won't be satisfied, despite my best efforts and longings for a rooted place to call home. Maybe its the redemption and healing of that place in my heart that allows me to look forward to this move and walk my children through a journey similar to my own. After all, there are many wonderful things that come from growing up in another country and traveling with your family as a child. And part of me, the redeemed part, wants that for my children.

I'm a little scared. I know how I can be when I am swallowed in a new language and culture. The rough edges of my heart continue to shock me. But I'm also excited for those rough edges to be smoothed a little bit, for the condition of my heart to be softened and more accepting and loving of others. I'm looking forward to giving my children the gift of cultural exposure, young as they are. I'm even looking forward to the challenges that come with adapting to a new culture.

So here goes the blog, whatever direction it may take. I definitely need to come back to read this when I'm having a hard day of cultural adaptation!
Monday, March 25, 2013

Let's talk about poop

Image credit: <a href=''>redbaron / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Just because I'm taking a break from cloth diapering doesn't mean I don't still have something to say about it! This may not be your favorite topic, but it needs to be mentioned, because this is one of the first questions people ask about cloth diapering, "What do you do about the poop?".

One of the reasons I decided to take a break from cloth diapering is the poop. I just can't handle the poop! When a baby is newborn and simply breastfed or formula fed, its really not a problem. You simply follow your wash routine and it comes right out of the diaper. When a baby starts eating something other than breast milk, everything changes!

It may be because I'm pregnant and extra sensitive to all things gross, but I find myself unable to handle even basic diaper changes. My first idea to better handle this was to have DH do all the diaper changes. I mean, guys spend more time talking and thinking about poop right? They're not as grossed out by that stuff as ladies typically are, so it seems only fair that the men should handle the diaper changes! LAUGH OUT LOUD! If only life was so simple. And as my hard working husband is out earning us the tempeh bacon most of the time, I'm left to mostly deal with this on my own.

If I was continuing to CD through this stage, here's what I would do:

Option A: Purchase disposable diaper liners. They look and feel a little like dryer sheets and work to line the diaper so that you can simply remove the liner and throw it and the waste into the toilet. Simple! I have these disposable liners by Bummis and they seem fine, although I haven't had the opportunity to see them in action. If your baby is "regular" then you can use one during the time when they are likely to have a bowel movement. If not, you use one during every diaper change.

Option B: Purchase a diaper sprayer. Its an apparatus you attach to your toilet that allows you to rinse waste off diapers straight into the toilet. I have this one by Bum Genius and it does the trick, although is pretty messy and seems to spray stuff everywhere. Ick! Definitely not something pregnancy approved! I know people who swear by these things, though, and it beats dunking and rinsing a diaper in the toilet bowl.

Do you cloth diaper? What method do you use for dealing with solid-food poop?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Life as a TCK...20 years later

I'll warn you this post is going to be longer and heavier than my normal diatribe. Read on if you feel like gettin' real.

I recently came across a blog called Djibouti Jones and beautiful post she wrote to her kids entitled "15 Things I Want to Tell My Third Culture Kids". Perhaps its because its been 20 years this May since my family moved back to the mainland U.S., or maybe its because my daughter is the same age I was when my parents moved overseas, but the article really touched me and stirred something in me. I need to process. When you're training to become a therapist, they often tell you that when your kids hit the same age as you were when something significant happened in your life, it can trigger you emotionally. Although I don't remember what it was like to move across the ocean to the tiny dot that is the island of Saipan in Micronesia, I know that this event set the course of my life.

Reading the blog made me think about things I don't often dig into because they're buried deep in my psyche. The fact that I grew up in another place doesn't register with me all the time, but its a deep part of my life experience that influences my thoughts and decisions on a daily basis. I think this is because it has shaped my identity. All of my life I have wrestled with these questions: Where do I belong and fit in? Where am I from? To what culture do I belong?

You see, Saipan is a Commonwealth of the U.S., which means its technically part of the U.S. (protected by federal laws where the people are U.S. citizens, speak English, and use the U.S. dollar) but are self governing and don't vote in presidential elections. There is an American school system, a few stop lights, and cable TV is imported and 2 weeks late (at least it was back in the '80s.). As a white person, a haole, I didn't fit in to the local culture. As an MK (missionary kid), I grew up playing mostly with the other missionary kids whose families came from all over the world. My friends were American, Australian, German, English, Filipino, Japanese. We fit in together because none of us fit.

Back on the Mainland, I didn't really fit in with kids my age. I didn't play AYSO soccer or go to school in a building with indoor hallways, and I didn't watch the cartoons or movies other kids got to see. My family moved back to the States when I was almost 13 and entering the 8th grade, an awkward stage in and of itself. Growing up in another culture was a point of interest for other kids but I seemed younger than my peers and pretty out of it socially.

When I got to college, I joined the club for MKs, but I didn't fit in there either. Their families still lived in other countries and they were "fresh off the boat" so to speak. They spoke another language, didn't wear shoes, played drums, and generally stuck together. As I had lived in the U.S. for several years and my family was now living nearby, I was too American.

It wasn't until I was 25 and on a six month trip to Argentina and Chile that I was able to say, "I'm American" and be at peace with that. I had to live in yet another country to come to terms with my cultural roots and be okay with it.

Now, as my husband and I start our family and seek God for the next steps in our lives, I find myself wanting to stay rooted to where I am. Although I always thought I would be a missionary, now I just want to be "from" somewhere and give that to my children.

I want my kids to have the things I never had but always searched to find. I want them to have a house they grow up in and build fond memories in. I want them to be able to play club sports and have access to academic resources when they need them. I want them to "be" from a place they call home. I want them to look like most of the other people in their community and not stand out because of their blond hair. I want them to live near extended family.

Yet I also want them to experience diversity and know what its like to be in the ethnic minority. I want them to travel and understand that there's more to life than what they see. I hope they have the opportunity to see extreme poverty first hand, and be able to work together to try to help those in need. I want them to know how to navigate an international airport and know how to pack light for a long trip. I want their favorite foods to be authentic Japanese or Korean, because that's what their friends at school shared with them. I want them to see their parents, as I saw mine, seeking God and loving on others in tangible ways.

I love the parts of me that have developed because I'm a TCK. I love that I am more comfortable with international travel than domestic travel, and I love that I have early memories of traveling with my family. I'm thankful for the diversity I experienced and the way I got to see missions, and development and relief work as a kid. I'm grateful for the way I was protected from the media and social influences as I was developing. I will never take for granted the beauty and simplicity of living on an isolated tropical island.

I feel sad that this TCK part of me is something a lot of people don't really know. Not because I hide it, but because its awkward to talk about it daily conversation. No one wants to be friends with someone who is always going on about, "Well in Saipan they do things this way", or, "In Saipan we didn't wear shoes in the house" etc. I miss being overseas yet I love being in America. I hope my children have the opportunity to learn about God's work in the world but also hope they find a cultural and personal identity sooner than I did.

I guess I still wrestle with some of these issues, but I'm oh so grateful for the life that I've lived so far. I'm fun, silly, and have deep streaks that occasionally surface. I may be a little quirky, but I'm also interesting if you give me a chance. I can talk about shopping for make up and shoes, and the next minute be talking about my crazy boat trip in Indonesia and the issues of children affected by war. I hope, at least, to give that to my children.

Are you a TCK? What questions have you wrestled with? How do you teach your kids about the world beyond what they can see?
Monday, February 11, 2013

Grace in Cloth Diapering

I've quit cleaning my house. I'm not just saying that and my house just looks "lived in" or things are out of place. You know those people, the ones who say, "Oh sorry about the mess!" when their house looks perfectly clean except for the one dish that needs to be washed? Okay, I admit, I have been that person. But that was then. This is now. Now I have a busy 9 month old I am always one step behind. Now I am 13 weeks pregnant. Now I am busy traveling to visit deathly ill family members or hosting out of town guests or being sick.

In college, when times got tough (read "it was finals week and she hadn't studied), a friend used to bemoan that the "steam roller of life" was getting her down. I submit to you that the steam roller of life is constantly chasing me, and my clean and organized house has been plowed down! To the point that The Hubs, God bless him, has been cleaning up a bit. I love that man but he sure does not have the same cleanliness standard as me (what man does?!).

The fact is, as you all know, my house wasn't that clean to begin with. Its just that I could have cleaned it if I wanted to. Now, it feels like the heaviest task in the world. Anyone want to buy me a maid service?

Along with the house cleaning, I begrudgingly haltingly humbly admit that I am taking a break from cloth diapers *gasp*! You see, I don't have a washer/dryer in my apartment, and what with being pregnant and all, it just felt like too much. Its just a break though, just a break. I know what you're thinking: "But she made such a big deal of it!", "Wait, she's pregnant? When did that happen?", "How does she come up with these witty posts?". I have decided to give myself some grace in at least this area of my life, and let go of my expectations for myself.

I suppose that this is one of those things that won't seem like such a big deal as my babies grow into children and young adults, although it does feel like a big decision in the here and now. I researched and calculated and agonized over the decision to use cloth, and I have guilt tripped myself into thinking I could not take a step back.

I suppose this just illustrates the greater lesson I am currently learning: Grace. Grace with a capital G, to accept it and extend it to myself and to offer it to others. To accept the fact that the best way to take care of myself and my family right now is to take a few things off my plate and allow things to be a little easier. To accept that this is a season where things won't look as polished or well in control and that some of my messy might be exposed. To move forward in my own parenting journey, while casting neither judgement nor comparison on others whose parenting journeys have led them down a different path.

So here I am: messy, exposed, covered in Grace. I suppose that's where I always am, even though its hard to admit and accept.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Review on Boba Wrap and Girasol Wrap

How were your holidays? I'm still trying to recover! I really love Christmas and Thanksgiving but always find these holidays over busy and overly stressful. I hate that they usually end up being that way and wish that they could be more simple. Any suggestions?

If you're investigating wrapping, I thought I'd leave you with this post from Alpha Mom ( a very cool website for all of us tired moms). It reviews both the Boba Wrap and Girasol, a wovern wrap. I hope you find it helpful!
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