Tell Me I’m Normal

I woke up Sunday morning in a funk.  Like baby blues… only 14 months after giving birth.  I drug myself around all day, annoyed with everything.  Tired of it all.  Ready to throw in the towel, but for no real reason I could pinpoint.  There had been no big fight with the hubs.  My kids were their typical, *ahem* charming selves.  We had just come off of two weeks of fall break, which culminated a neighborhood Halloween party that would rival any small town’s Baptist church fall festival.  So, what was the deal?

Monday night, as we were watching the replay of Sunday’s Colts vs. Texans game, it hit me.  We are in full-on Fall mode.  It is almost Thanksgiving.  The holidays are upon us.  (I’m not sure what about that game struck a chord.  Maybe it’s because J.J. Watt‘s athletic prowess is as magical and unexplainable as Santa.)  Regardless, as subtle as a dump truck, the realization that it is my favorite time of the year smacked me in my gut.  It wasn’t so much that it is the end of Fall that sent me in a downward spiral of moodiness.  It was that it is the end of Fall, and I am living far from family, friends, church, American culture, Christmas, the list goes on and on.  It’s all going on right now, without me.  I am missing it all.

I know I am supposed to relish in this experience 100% of the time.  I am constantly harping on my boys to recognize that they are seeing and experiencing things that most people never even dream of.  But every once in awhile, with all the maturity of a two year old, I want to throw myself on the floor, pound my fists and cry.  And worst of all, not only am I trying to catch my breath in this self-made pit of despair, I feel guilty for feeling it.  For those of you that don’t struggle with guilt and worry on a daily basis, let me let you in on a secret… it sucks.  I have all the emotions of a “normal” person, and then I have extra emotions because I hyper-analyze why I feel that way, and then feel bad for it.  I know.  I need therapy.  But, for the record, it’s in my genes.  Ask anyone in my family.  They can vouch for my kind of crazy.

So, fast forward to today.  I had a sweet chat with one of my favorite people here.  We have this weird habit of walking each other to the door as we leave the other’s home, and then standing there for the next hour talking.  I’m not sure why we don’t just sit down and save ourselves the back ache.  But, I digress.  As we stood in my threshold talking, our conversation headed towards our neurotic shopping right now, as we fear the unknown that is the diplomatic pouch mail service.  Fearing our children will not get Christmas gifts in time for St. Nick (insert writhing and gnashing of teeth here), we spend hours on amazon, feeding our neurosis.  One thing led to another, and before you knew it, we were both teary eyed talking about how sad we were lately.  How we missed our families.  How this time of year makes us feel even further than the thousands of miles that separated us from all that is familiar.  And then my friend said something that resonated with me.  She said that she felt like we all just wanted someone else to say they felt this same way too.  That she wasn’t the only one finding it hard to see the joy in the days right now.  Standing there, with a tingling nose and wet eyes, I felt normal.  I didn’t feel so isolated and lonely.  

So, let me put it out there, to those of you who live a life like mine:  You are normal.  You are normal if you find yourself missing those stupid Christmas commercials that start on November 1st.  You are normal if you are angry because you can’t just pick up a phone and call your mom to say hi, because it’d cost $10/minute and it’s 3am her time.  You are normal if you obsess over the pictures of your friends at a particular 10 day salute to sausage that marks the beginning of the holiday season to you.  You are normal if you resent the fact that you are having to “browse” online stores trying to find something your kids will love for Christmas, knowing that you really have no clue, since they haven’t seen a commercial in months and don’t ever go to stores.  You are normal if your eyes fill up with tears every time you imagine what your BFF is doing right now, without you.  You are normal.  

And if I’m wrong, and you aren’t normal, then at least you know you aren’t alone.  And sometimes, that’s half the battle.  

A Munchkin Turns One

Summer lovin’ had me a blast!  Summer lovin’ happened so fast!

One of the keys to my survival in another country are guaranteed trips home.  It keeps me grounded, rounded and sane!  I feel better knowing my kiddos get to spend quality time with the g’parents and our friends that are more like family.  Praise God for modern technology and the ability to stay connected while we are away.  But there is no substitute for hugs from the heart, sweet conversations over martinis coffee, and our family favorite… Chick-fil-a!  And with the addition of our little munchkin, a birthday party with all the people who love her the most!

The pictures pretty much tell the story of our day celebrating my sweet Lyla Rae.  But for those of you who don’t know her, let me fill you in a little secret… She is a trip.  Seriously, she is her own little caricature of herself!  All those funny faces you see her make in pictures… those are just a small taste of her spiciness!  And I have tried my best to give her hairstyles to match!  (In my defense, her hair has a mind of it’s own, just like her!)

If I’m being perfectly honest, and hey, what better place than in the privacy of my own blog that anyone can read, there have been a couple of moments when I thought, “What were we thinking, having another baby?!?! We have two boys that are beautiful, healthy, and soooo close to independence!  Why did we start back over again?”  Then, Lyla came and it all made sense.  It’s like our family was never without her.  She fits in, in a way that I could never have imagined.  Not to mention that she is super cool.  I know, I know, everyone thinks that about their kids.  But I mean it!  She is funny and silly and intelligent to boot.  And not just bright.  My girl is wicked smart.

So, enough of my ramblings.  Enjoy the party!

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I am no party planner, so really, this is pretty good for me! Please ignore the penant flags hanging willy-nilly from the tray. I had good intentions. Really.

 

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Another reason I miss Target. You can find ANYTHING there! I miss that in Bosnia.

 

These balloons were in flower arrangements that were sent when Lyla was born, a year ago.  My mom saved them so we could put them out again.  We'll see if they survive to year two!

These balloons were in flower arrangements that were sent when Lyla was born, a year ago. My mom saved them so we could put them out again. We’ll see if they survive to year two!

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Cherry and Oreo cupcakes for dessert!

 

 

Bring on the cupcake!

Bring on the cupcake!

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I think she liked the cake!

I think she liked the cake!

She wasn't sure what to do with the gifts.  I assured her she'd figure it out soon enough!

She wasn’t sure what to do with the gifts. I assured her she’d figure it out soon enough!

Lyla was given her first Cabbage Patch Kid.  Her name is Gisele Brooklyn.  We're hoping that's just her stripper name.

Lyla was given her first Cabbage Patch Kid. Her name is Gisele Brooklyn. We think that’s just her stripper name.

What do you mean we look alike?  I don't see it.

What do you mean we look alike? I don’t see it.

This is one of those pictures that remind me why it is so important for my kids to know and love the people in my life that I love.

This is one of those pictures that remind me why it is so important for my kids to know and love the people in my life that I love.

I remember when I left for DC a year ago and I was so worried that it would be too hard to stay in touch with my most important friend.  Then she reminded me that she was there from the beginning.  She saw this child as she was born.  She'd be there every step of the way.  And she expected a prime seat at her wedding!  <3

I remember when I left for DC a year ago and I was so worried that it would be too hard to stay in touch with my most important friend. Then she reminded me that she was there from the beginning. She saw this child as she was born. She’d be there every step of the way. And she expected a prime seat at her wedding! ❤

 

Living far away can be so hard sometimes.  That’s why I am grateful for each of these sweet moments that are shared with those who are closest to me.  Some days it’s just good to be hugged in person.  And a number one with no pickles and a lemonade is pretty great too!