Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What is Your Status?

Often as I work my way through the day, I think to myself - What is your status now? Kellee is...folding laundry, wiping noses, picking up a dozen dirty socks, feeling overwhelmed, feeling overjoyed, snuggling her boys, getting a moments peace, etc. We are all in a constant status update, even if you have never been on Facebook! This is a good thing for me because I am infinitely aware of RIGHT NOW. Being in the present is the best place to be and when you are aware of this very moment you can live it, enjoy it, experience it all the better.

Last night Finn would not go to sleep and my arms still hurt from holding him for three hours! I mentally folded up my to do list and put it away; I was with him. At that moment, that was what I was doing. Nothing else. So even though we were all very tired, I was just so happy that he is part of my life. The same goes for little boys' dirty socks: I get to pick those up because I have boys! And I couldn't imagine my life with out them.

Try it for yourself, be in the moment because that is where you ARE. You know yesterday already happened, and all those things you have to do tomorrow will still be there. But stop for a minute and see if you can enjoy this time before it passes all to quickly. What is your status?

And just for fun I am going to share with you my facebook status for the last month:

Dec 15
Kellee realizes at the rate I'm going, I'm probably sending out Valentines gifts instead of Christmas gifts.9:56pm

Kellee found out that putting the baby to bed 3 hours later does NOT mean he will sleep in for 3 more hours! Hello 6am as usual!6:57am

Dec 14
Kellee is still working on being ready for tomorrow's class. 9:20pm

Kellee is up to her ears in eco friendly Christmas crafts!8:46am

Dec 13
Kellee is happy her mother is happy. She deserves to be!8:40am

Dec 11
Kellee is trying to stay positive, but is really just disappointed. 9:49pm

Dec 10
Kellee is reluctantly doing paperwork. (but not very well because here I am on the computer again!) 9:47am

Dec 8
Kellee is not patiently waiting until Christmas to open her presents. 9:39pm

Dec 7
Kellee just went to a church for the first time in 7 years and the holy water didn't boil! (but don't expect me back anytime soon!) 2:39pm

Dec 6
Kellee is up much later than she should be. 11:17pm

Dec 4
Kellee has been a mother for ten years now. The BEST thing that ever happened! Happy Birthday Taylor! 7:20am

Dec 3
Kellee :Bright sunlight on a clear day is the best example of hard light, which travels directly from the source to the subject. 1:49pm

Dec 2
Kellee is looking at the pile of Christmas decorations sitting next to the pile of unassembled Ikea furniture sitting next to the pile of laundry.... 9:15pm

Dec 1
Kellee is having a hard time getting motivated. 9:18pm

Nov 29
Kellee hopes you can find generosity and gratitude this holiday season. Change begins with you. 10:54pm

Nov 28
Kellee is laughing at all these photos of me in high school showing up on facebook! 6:51pm

Nov 27
Kellee is at least 3lbs. heavier tonight. 10:34pm

Kellee is making her family the whole shabang for Thanksgiving! 10:31am

Nov 26
Kellee has started her own business without even realizing it! Check it out! marmalademonkeysinc.blogspot.com. 11:25am

Nov 25
Kellee is thinking about life. 9:53pm

Nov 24
Kellee is watching a girly movie with her brother - who requested to watch it! ;). 10:12pm

Nov 23
Kellee does not have to accept EVERY friend request on Facebook. I don't remember most of these people! 9:37am

Nov 22
Kellee is surprised to be waking up to snow!!! Thank-you East Coast Friends for sending it my way! 7:53am

Nov 21
Kellee had the best time teaching scrapbooking classes this week, can't wait for next months classes. You won't be disappointed! ;). 7:37pm

Nov 20
Kellee thinks Santa's middle name must be Amazon. (Now who wants to go to the post and pick it up for me, pleeeeease?!) 11:54am

Nov 19
Kellee is sooo tired. My boys have never been given the gift of good sleepers. 9:38am

Nov 18
Kellee is sure there is something more important to do today than be on the computer. 8:31am

Nov 17
Kellee is done with laundry, oh, wait a minute, there it is, never mind. 8:59am

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Darkness of Winter

I realize with much trepidation that I am beginning to resent the Winter months. I ask myself why I have struggled with living here, and though many things come to mind, and many things I have learned to overcome, the one thing I just can’t shake is the darkness of Winter. And, oh, how it looms over us as I write! The sun sets earlier and it rises even later, and the grey clouds hang close over our heads, wanting to tear open and dump gallons- excuse me- liters on us as we try to manage our daily lives. So, we put up Christmas trees, light warm apple cake candles, sing holiday songs, cuddle up for movie night, make gifts for friends, talk on the phone more, leave messages on facebook all too often; and if all goes according to plan, we come out alright on the other side of winter.

Such a struggle indeed. And I know my dear friends and acquaintances on this side of the pond are having a rough time of it as well. So, how do we solve this impending dark pit of the winter months? I’ll paraphrase for you a little something I read from Eckhart Tolle: “It is not the situation in life that causes our unhappiness, but rather the way we think about it.” I know there are many things we need to do in order to stay motivated, sane and happy through these next few months: exercise, eat right, share with your spouse and/or partner, get some sleep if your kids will allow it, write it down, make a friend, do something kind, connect spiritually, keep active…The list goes on. Implement your own plan of action and follow! But I think the number one thing to keep happy in hard times is the power of your own thought.

It’s not an easy task keeping up with my mind, but I know I am making progress. I wanted to say, “Ugh, snow, cold, shoveling…” Instead I said, “ The peace of the white covered earth will only last but a moment, I will enjoy winter’s little celebration!” I thankfully had no where to be this weekend, so for two whole days I watched the best snowfall we’ve had here yet, all from the warmth of my home. And I even let the boys go out and get wet and cold…and they loved every minute of it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Perfectly Perfect

When my third son was born in early spring of this year, he arrived not quite properly put together. He was born with a dilated left kidney. It really shouldn't have been a surprise, but the Ob minimized the situation during my pregnancy. At the last minute I found my self expecting a baby with a condition that did not "go away before he was born". I had so many questions, and so few answers; my hospital was located in a small Belgian town where even the "translator" only spoke French! What do we call this thing? What tests will be done? Can he urinate properly? Will he need surgery right as he's born? And still no answers came. What a lesson in patience!

Eventually we had a few tests done, some more invasive than others. We saw a specialist in Brussels and we saw a specialist at John's Hopkins in the U.S. We did a little research. We got frustrated by the language barrier in Belgium, and frustrated at the cost and speed in which things are done in the U.S. We waited for the possibility of an infection to occur. We wondered oh so many things about what was happening. Finley is now eight months old. Today we went back to the specialist in Brussels and he said "I am happy today about the progress of the kidney". A positive outlook! There has been a significant change from when he was born, in fact it is looking more normal every time we go in for a check-up. This summer, the specialist from John's Hopkins was ready to slice him open! But alas here he is now, a picture of health. I wonder if we hadn't have taken a look on the inside with these handy dandy ultrasounds, would we have ever known?!

So, I say Finley is perfectly perfect! And I'll tell you why: Two days after he was born I was holding him tight and overwhelmed with emotion. I was so grateful to have another beautiful redhead boy, but not certain what significance these health issues meant. I called my Dad to confess that everything wasn't ok as I led him to believe, that in fact Finley was born with a health problem. I could hear his sigh; he deflated. This is his grand baby! But he has never been one to dwell on the negative. So when I said to him it's just hard because I wanted Finley to be born perfect, he stopped me then and told me "But, he IS perfect." And there it was sinking into my soul, what do I know? But, of course! And I have believed it ever since. The course is till undetermined with this little one's kidney - and surgery is not ruled out yet. But for now. I just know that no matter what happens he came to us just as he was meant to come. Perfect!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When You Just Can't Stop Laughing

Because you might just keep crying! My dear children, various other family members, and possibly a few strangers, all think I've lost it. I was visiting the very charming and not all that inappropriate city of Amsterdam last week with my children, my brother-in-law and his new bride. I was honored to host them on their honeymoon to Europe and decided to take one day to travel with them. I love to travel so it was a good opportunity for me because I had help with my monkeys; seeing as how I am completely out numbered now.

Amsterdam is only a three hour car or train ride away from my home, here in little ol' Belgium. We opted for the train because city driving is not my thing. And I reserved us two rooms in a little hotel in the quiet canal district. One bag packed. No, really, only one bag. Camera and batteries. Children's blankies. Snacks. All set. Except for the dog! Which I somehow forgot I had until the day before we were leaving. Really? Quick save - a call to the vet for updated shots, a frantic rush to the military base kennel and I was just lucky enough to wrap up that problem in time for our early ride the next morning. To Amsterdam, a beautiful city just hours from us that somehow I've managed to miss until now.

And yet still I feel like I've missed the whole thing. You see the thing is, with Daddy gone the boys just don't seem to want to behave like themselves. And though I had help, and the weather was good, and I promised spoils of goodness to those who behave, and I gave lectures on gratitude, and punishments were handed out, and ALL that needed to be in place for little boys to behave was certainly thought of and put forth in great effort...Yet somehow we found little success with good behavior for the majority of our trip to the beautiful city of Amsterdam; so close and yet so very far from our home.

So, there I was laughing so hard I was crying in the middle of lunch at a very "local" pub. Finley in my lap, restless and not allowing me a lunch break; Taylor glumly coming along for the ride and being the ultimate "parent" to his brother; and dear Gavin, who could not remember to remember anything, and who was also playing in (yes IN) his soda! And here I am laughing as I write this right now, remembering how ridiculous I felt that I couldn't inspire my own children to just be good. So, I just burst out in a fit of laughter, with tears running down my cheeks. And the harder I laughed, the harder I laughed. Vicious cycle. And wouldn't you know, it all seemed to work out ok after that. As long as I put it in perspective; Beautiful, charming oh-so-close Amsterdam will be there another day, but I only have this moment with my little boys once. And the little moments are what count...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

15 Minutes Wasted

Taylor was complaining that he wasted 15 minutes on something unnecessary yesterday and then proceeded to waste the next half hour upset about it!? It was one of those moments when I realized that life is way to short to spend our time worrying and complaining.

Download the song “Make it Mine” by Jason Mraz. (Hell, download all his music, it’s all great.) Listen to it and maybe you will see where I get my new mantra. How am I getting by here in Belgium, with David deployed, away from family member’s who need me, with a baby who has a kidney defect, a cat that puts holes in my curtains, boys who won’t remember to turn the lights out, packages that won’t come, shoulder’s and wrists that ache all day, lawn un-mowed, ideas for art never coming to fruition, friends that come and go, “time wasted”? YET opportunity is right around the corner, so I will “make it mine.” I will own it. Because I choose this life: I married a military man so I must move and adjust and make new friends, but I am thankful he can support us well with his job in a time of global economic crisis. I choose this damn big house, and to get two animals, so I will clean it and be thankful that I have the space for my children to skate up and down the halls. I have a house full of monkeys, and I am grateful for every moment. Every moment that passes faster than I can hold on to. So, if I don’t get to the art studio, or read a book, or ever have another pedicure; I’ve at least been there for that moment in time.

About my complaining. I’ve written a bit since last spring, but a lot has changed. Though my daily struggles are a continual effort to overcome, I have also come to peace with my life right here and now. Everyday has been a challenge with David's departure, and every single morning I wake and face the day with the knowledge that it can all go right and I will try again....Because I refuse to look back on any moment of this great life I live and have a bad memory. Because I will not ruin these precious moments raising my three boys with a bad attitude. Because I will NOT unlearn every lesson I have learned. Because I will not let opportunity pass me by. Because I choose my destiny. Because "Everything is fine, not final." Because I want to be at peace, so I will be at peace. And that is why I am sorry for ever having complained in the first place, though I know it is human nature, I believe my life is better now without it. And I hope to pass this on to you, in love, not war. I hope you are not sad, worried or angry today; that instead you find your bliss. And wake up tomorrow and find it again!

Friday, October 3, 2008

See You Later, Not Goodbye

In the world we live in, I live in, we all have to take our turn. This is my husband's second deployment. It wasn't in our plan, because he is a government employee, not a soldier. Usually. But September Eleventh changed a lot of things for many people and now, with honor, he serves right alongside all the other soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. Many we know have gone: friends, colleagues, even my brother Ben went with the first push through in Iraq. So, when our number is called, we respect those who have gone and take our turn proudly; all worries, hesitations, politics, conflicts, disagreements, and fears must be put aside. It's not easy, but we are not alone.

I miss him already. I miss him most when I see my boys missing him. I miss him more now than before. I miss him because we have built a great life together with our children and have had so much fun in the last couple years just being together. But I am infinitely proud of him; heading up this team and going down to a part of this world that needs resolution. And I will be at peace within myself knowing that if his work saves just one life, then the months of being apart is sacrifice enough. So I say see you later, not goodbye, because this is just a little thing in the grand master plan of life...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Looks Just Like...

I swear when I look at Finley he looks just like Taylor. The same smile and big bald head. I look at those eyes and see Taylor's eyes peering back at me. The same chubby legs, the same nose for sure, and the same little hands reaching out at me. And when I nurse him and put him down at night and get back up again a couple hours later, yup, just like Taylor. And oh, how the boy can eat, no waiting till he's older to start on solid foods, he wants it right now, just like Taylor. And like big brother, Finn likes to be held and payed attention to all the time. Some days it's like Deja Vu, and I have to stop and remember, this is not Taylor.

I swear when I look at Finley he looks just like Gavin. The same smile and big bald head. I look at those eyes and see Gavin's eyes peering back at me. The same chubby legs, the same nose for sure, and the same little hands reaching out at me. And when I nurse him and put him down at night and get back up again a couple hours later, yup, just like Gavin. And oh, how the boy can eat, no waiting till he's older to start on solid foods, he wants it right now, just like Gavin. And like big brother, Finn likes to be held and payed attention to all the time. Some days it's like Deja Vu, and I have to stop and remember, this is not Gavin.

Hey, wait a minute....Yes, I have a replicating machine in my belly. I have three boys that look so much like each other as babies it's unreal! But believe me, time will tell, and I can tell you - Finley is as much his own self as the other two boys. And though there have been times when I have had a strong sense of Deja Vu (mostly waking in the wee hours, bleary eyed, to feed him for the umpteeth time), I do so enjoy watching Finn grow and learn and become the little boy that he is. So, I say, Finley looks just like himself...(mostly!).

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Gift on Our Tenth

As a gift to you, my husband, on our tenth anniversary, I give you this:


You were right that it would be harder than I thought to move to a new country.
You were right that I would eventually come to like it here. (But not Love it!)
You were right that having a third child would be more work, but I say worth every bit of it.
You were right that a little organization makes all the difference.
You were right that I need exercise, not for my butt, more for my mind!
You were right that I need routine.
You were right that I should get up before the kids to make sure they get off on time.
You were right that once I get the furniture moved, I'd want to move it again.
You were right that sooner or later I'd learn to love the dog, too.
You were right that it's the cat shedding the hair all over my house.
You were right that as soon as I visited to the U.S. I'd be be back to my old habits.
You were right that we've made it this far we can make it through anything!

I am so glad we took the chance and jumped into this crazy life together. I am enjoying my time with you even more every day. I wouldn't change a thing, except maybe that I'd listened to you a little sooner! I'm just glad you were right and married me ten years ago!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

If it's not Finley at 5am or David's snoring, then it's the cat and dog chasing each other at o'dark thirty. And honestly it's my own inability to sleep added on top of all that... But some how I just keep moving. I mean hey, what's more valuable to a mom: money, time, sleep? For me, I would pick time for sure. For example, all my kids have been in bed for two hours now, and I know it's just a matter of minutes before Finley's up wanting mama's milk again; but here I am on the computer, surfing, blogging, shopping, etc. instead of getting the much needed sleep I deserve. But I need a little me time, just a little OK?!

In a typical day: Wake early (sometimes really early); feed Finn; make coffee for David (and so very much for me, too); get breakfast and lunch for boys; get them dressed and on the bus; get myself dressed and try to remember to change Finley's diaper; head out to meet the other moms for a brisk walk and a much needed venting session; more coffee; run to the store which is 30 minutes away and everyone I know is there so I can never run in real quick; come home to a pile of laundry that always grows faster than I can get it done and put away; try to get Finn to take a nap for longer than 20 minutes; eat something not so healthy because I don't want to stop long enough to think about it; put together Ikea furniture I bought last week and haven't gotten to yet; try to figure out where the USB cable went to my camera to upload pictures and in the process clean out David's entire desk and -thank God- finally found the receipt I was looking for to get the Gameboy fixed; mop the floor while holding a fussy baby; nurse him again and put him back to sleep for the 3rd time; stop to read the headlines on the internet -something about the Hurricane, Palin - oh and Ike hit Texas; wash all of the morning dishes before I put them in the dishwasher to be washed; take a potty break while talking to the baby (I don't get to do this again by myself for at least two more years); hurry because the boys are getting off the bus; feed everyone snacks or leftovers from lunches half eaten; argue -if only for a moment- that we have to do homework; negotiate times for the computer and/or television; remember the wet laundry needs to go in the dryer; give in to some floor time with the baby before the moment has passed; throw together leftovers for dinner from the big party we had last Sunday that wore me out, but turned out nice in the end; convince kids they must bathe; oh crap, I forgot the dog's been outside all day; welcome David home late because he's training to leave for Afghanistan next week; tuck the kids all in to bed; and that leads me to this moment where I am trying to take some time for myself. Oh, what's that you say...my husband would like a little attention now, so I have to call it quits. It's almost midnight, I guess I can sleep when I die....

Friday, September 12, 2008

Back to School, Back to Blogging

Ok, I confess, school started a month ago. But I just can't seem to get my life organized enough to make this a regular habit...yet. So, Taylor is now in 5th grade and Gavin in 1st. Both love their teachers and classmates. Hallelujah! Taylor comes home each day with a plan for play and homework, so as not to miss out on one second of his spare time. For the most part this is working and he is managing his time well, on his own. Wow. The best part is that I haven't heard him say, "I don't want to go to school today, can I stay home?" which must have been last years mantra. Gavin always seems to love school. We're working hard to get him fluent in reading, well I'm working hard. It seems the school is far behind in schedule than our school in Maryland, and thus extra work for the mom.

If there is one thing that I have come to realize with the sixth year of school for our family under way; it's that a family must take responsibility for their own children's education. You just can't rely on public education to do the whole job for you. I am so thankful we have public education, and this is a particularly nice DODDS school, and heaven forbid I would have to home school, but...I always feel like there is something lacking in the overall education experience for my boys. (Thank-you "no child left behind") So, I'll keep trying to figure out what they each need and do my best in betweens meals, laundry, bill paying, house keeeping and breastfeeding to fit in a little time for each of them. I guess that's why I am self titled "Reign de la Maison" (Queen of the house)!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kellee One, Peacock Zero

Maybe my sensibility was off, maybe I've become cold hearted, maybe I'm the boss and not the peacock! But last night against my better judgment I released a very excitable dog on that peacock who dared to wander back into my yard! And I forgot that the gate was still open, so...
Rest assured the peacock is still alive, although he may need therapy for the rest of his life. My reward for the dog's hard work is a collection of ALL of the peacock's beautiful feathers. Lucky me. And lucky peacock that this was his mechanism for survival. This bird shoots out all his feathers when he is in danger in order to move faster, otherwise I fear Echo would have had him for dinner for sure (and I might have felt guilty). I'm betting that that maybe the last I see of the peacock in my yard, at least for this season!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Delerious with Sunshine

We aren't quite sure what to do with so much sunshine. It's been hot and sunny for a couple weeks (and no one is complaining). The kids go to bed exhausted because we play outside all day in the glorious sun, trying to soak it all in to clear out the cobwebs of a long rainy winter. I've never seen so many smiles! It's been fantastic to get out the grill, the sunscreen, the hats, the sports equipment, the shorts, etc. David has even had his top off the jeep!

It's funny, though, the boys keep referring to all the things they want to do here this summer. Like water fights and swimming pools; and I have to remind them that this may very well be our summer in Belgium! It's just not that predictable...

And alas, I see rain in the forecast for tomorrow! Well, it was absolutely, wonderfully, fantastic while it lasted! (And maybe if we're lucky we'll see it again before the summer is over.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Six Lbs. in Two Months!

That would be Finley's weight gain, not mine! It's hard to believe my little baby is already not so little. Some would say he has put it all on in the cheeks. I love his big round smiles and coos. And he has this really cute swirly belly button:

I'm sure he won't think it's so cute later; but he's just my baby now, so I'm going to run with it as long as I can. I'd love to tell everyone he's perfectly healthy, but many of you know, and for those of you who do not, his kidneys are not properly developed. Apparently this is a very common occurrence, especially in boys. The urine doesn't properly drain from the kidneys and the ureters, mostly on the right side. We could see this on sonograms while I was pregnant, but my OB kept telling us that it would go away before he was born. Well, it didn't and I had no idea what to expect.

Unfortunately, I still don't know what to expect. We have been through many tests starting the day after he was born. The health care in Belgium in good; I have confidence in them. However, I just don't understand French. So, during our trip to the U.S. this summer we have an appointment with a specialist at John's Hopkins. If for no other reason, I'd just like to get the facts in plain old English. I do know a main side effect is Urinary Tract Infections, and normally the doctors would put a baby with this condition on antibiotics right after they are born. We opted for a wait-and-see approach with Finley so he would not become resistant or allergic to the antibiotics.

So, as of now he is doing fine and thriving all on his own. Plenty of wet diapers and no infections. I have to just keep believing he is perfect in every way and hope this is something he will grow out of as he gets bigger. And bigger he is getting. I sure hope to share this sweet boy with everyone as soon as possible. I know you will fall for him, just as I have!

Monday, April 28, 2008

And I wanted to live in India...

I can hardly survive Belgium and once upon a time I wanted to live in India?! I suppose that was before children. Anytime things get tough it's easier to imagine life will be better elsewhere. There's no doubt this place is not the worst place to live and some days I've really got it good, but there's also no doubt that life is infinitely easier in the good old U. S. of A. I made my list of all the things I like about this place, which Taylor reminds me to focus on that instead of the list I formulate in my mind that is ten times longer of the things I don't like. So, he is right, and it's really great that we have family time and I don't recreation shop anymore. But some days I really wish I lived where a dollar is a dollar and there are no priority to the right signs (ask me about it sometime).

We play a little game, the boys and I, while driving, "what's the first thing you're going to do when we arrive home this summer?" That list has gotten so long, I actually started writing it down so as not to forget our hopes and desires. Gavin is heading straight for Dunkin' Donuts and must have a water balloon fight in Grandmom's back yard. He also was looking at the pictures on the back of our U.S. money and informed me that he wanted to see these places: Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, etc. (how convenient, really). Taylor was diplomatic and said we must visit family first, and then he wanted to go to Rocky Run for real hot wings and a trip to Gettysburg would be nice as well. David claims he has nothing on his to-do list (but I'll bet he ends up in A Game's Workshop store before long). As for me; a friend informed me the other day that she was saving me a parking spot at Target. Also watch out Joann's and Borders, and probably Pannera, Baja Fresh, Starbucks, Old Navy, Eddie Bauer, Trader Joe's, Recollections, JCPenny's, Micheals, Safeway, THE MOVIES, Aida's Bistro, Ellicott City Brew Pub, Target - I think you get the point.

Unfortunately we're only home for six weeks, will there be enough time? Or more importantly, will we ever want to come back here? The hardest part is being so far from family. And I just can't wait to feel the connection again. BUT I'll make the best I can of living here because I know Belgium is not India. (but just by a hair)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Odyssey of the Mind

This is huge! I was told that when the teams started practicing in November that a first year school rarely places in these competitions, let alone wins. So, after months of practice and hard work (an average of 175 hours per student) Shape Elementary School sent 5 teams to the regional competition in Bad Kissengen, Germany. And all five teams placed, and two teams won first place, which means going to the World Finals in Maryland.

That would be my Taylor! His team won first place for building a balsa wood structure that bares weight and a skit to present it to the judges. So you know what this means? A whole lot of fund raising in a very short amount of time. It costs each kid $520 for lodging and another $700 or so for airfare (this does not include the parent that goes with the child) and misc. expenditures. So, we figured out that we need to raise over $17,000 to send these kids to the World Finals, and we have less than two months to do it. Hello bake sales! And car washes, and flea markets, and lunches for teachers, and bingo night, and more bake sales, and a whole lot of hustling...

I am so excited and proud of my Taylor that he can take part of something so big. And it's so nice that we get to go to Maryland. I can't wait for a chance to go home and spend some time with family and friends. We all need this trip. And Taylor EARNED it all the way. I love you, son, you are amazing.

Monday, April 21, 2008

One More Monkey

Yes, you could say that I have an excuse for my great lapse in writing. Life seems to pass faster than I can get a handle on it. But I am missing a great opportunity to share with everyone all the adventures ands misadventures of our life right here and now. As I read through a few friends blogs recently I realized I have a lot of catching up to do. So, here we go.

Welcome now the latest redhead boy to the Conrad clan: Finley Emerson Conrad was born March 6th 2008. After a very short labor (Yes!) he was born at 9:35 in the morning in the local Belgian hospital, three weeks early at 8 pounds 2 ounces. Of course he has red hair, or David might have sent him back! I look at him and have a sense of Deja Vu. But I know as he grows and develops his own personality, likes, dislikes, desires, path to run down...he will prove to me that he is NOT just a replication of his brothers, but in fact another great addition to this world in his very own unique and wonderful way. I already feel so overwhelmed with love and gratitude that I have this chance to be a mom one more time. I feel very fulfilled with my three amazing boys, even if my house feels like a zoo full of monkeys some days, this is the life I want more than anything else and I am happy!

A quick update on all the other things in life: We acquired a cat last year, and then a dog; more monkeys than I can handle some days. I hired a house keeper finally, now I don't cry over housework anymore and seem to enjoy the little things a bit more. (like holding my baby and reading to the kids.) On the bright side, though, the dog keeps the peacock out of our yard, thank goodness because it would not have survived another year in my life!! The long dark winter is over and I see signs of spring everywhere. New babies are flooding the region, not only are the humans having babies by the dozens, but it's so much fun to see all the baby animals. On our property, the landlord's sheep had seven new lambs this year, and the neighbor's goats had kids. The cows have been let out to pasture for the season after being cooped up in the barn all winter.

I guess as much as I say I want to move home, when presented with moving back to a crowded city, I realize there is so much to enjoy here with our simple family life. And, though we never go to the movies, or out to dinner, or even travel much, and certainly shopping is whatever we can find at the military exchange (have you seen the exchange rate lately?!), our life is limited to what we do together here at home. So, dear sweet husband says, are you going to remember your time here in Belgium as being "poor" or as time well spent hanging out at home having a good time together as a family. What a good man to remind me how good I have it. So today, I will drive along the farm roads and see all the new life growing, and feel good to be a part of it this Spring!

"Live high, live mighty, live righteously" -song quote from Jason Mraz