Thursday, September 22, 2016

Quandary: What Do I Want to be When I Grow Up?

Has anyone else ever grown up and still not known what they want to be? I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who feel the same way.  I have been a mom and wife for the last fifteen years. No, I wasn't pressured into it, and no, I don't regret one bit setting aside other ambitions to raise a family. Being a mom is the best decision I have ever made. I feel blessed to have been able to raise my children and be a close, nurturing part of their lives. I would do it again in a heartbeat. But, being a mom is not the type of job that remains the same forever. I have discovered that (like so many other things in life) the roles of motherhood are constantly changing.

When my kids were very young the demands on my time were constant. Little mouths needed to be fed and little bottoms changed. There was a continuous demand for snuggles, cuddles, kisses and hugs. Books were read, baths were given, naps were desperately enforced so that I could steal and hour or two away from the chaos to tidy a room or (heaven forbid) take a shower. It was physically taxing in a way I had never experienced.

But then, guess what? All of that nurturing I faithfully provided over the years worked its magic and before I knew what was happening my children grew. To paraphrase Robert Munsch's Love You Forever, they grew and they grew and they grew. They grew until I now find myself with a teenager, a pre-teen and two others who are following close behind. Everyone is in school all day and my role as a mother, while still very important, has changed. I'm not needed constantly in the same way as before.

The change has been both exciting and confusing because while I've been able to branch out and try new things, I've found it very hard to settle on what it is I actually want to do. I have always looked forward to the day when I could help provide financially to our family. Now that it's here, I have no idea what to do with it. That's not exactly true, I do have about half-a-dozen interests I would love to try. Narrowing it down to only one or two is the tricky part. Add to the quandary my family's unique international life-style and that decision becomes even more complicated.

I am breaking the rules of writing with this little "schpeel" because I have no pre-determined point to make. I have only a list of options rolling around in my brain, and a need to sort them all and make some decisions. I know the right situation is out there for me and I feel like this whole puzzle will be solved through trying, failing, and then re-working and trying again. I'm sure I'll figure things out.

All of this being said, my position as a Mom, though changed, is still my priority. I want to find something that will allow me to do continue to be the mom my kids need in the hours when they are here. I know now how fast time goes by and I want to take advantage of the few remaining years I have left with them at home. As always, they are my number one.

That's all for today. Just felt like getting that out of my mind and into words. I hope all of you out there are finding the things in life that make you happy!

Saturday, August 06, 2016

One Year Left in Manila

      Well, our vacation is over and school has commenced, so we are back in Manila for one more year. It's weird when you get to a half-way point of your tour and you are torn between being really excited for the adventure coming up next, and feeling sad over everything you know you will miss about your current country. I'll be honest, last year was a difficult one for me, and it wasn't hard because of where I live. The adjustment to living in the Philippines was actually incredibly easy. We are located in a very convenient place, with almost any "American" products we could wish for at our finger-tips. The school here is amazing, and our apartment is fantastic. I think what made everything so hard for me personally, is the fact that I am now in a different place as a mom.  My kids are gone for most of the day, and I am not needed every moment like I used to be. My role in their lives --while still very important -- has taken a step back. I feel more like a cheerleader or a guidance counselor than a mom. They are all big enough now that it wouldn't be good for them anymore to have me hover and do everything for them. They need to learn to do things on their own.
         So, as I figure out my new role, I have had some ups and downs this past year. I know for certain, that I want to work in some way that will give us an extra, steady paycheck. I have many options (photography, writing, speech, ESL), and am trying hard to find the best fit for me and my family. It has been a struggle. I don't know why its been so difficult, but I just haven't been able to settle. I feel confident that I will find my path, and I am determined that I will not let this new year (our final time in Manila) go to waste. I want to leave feeling connected to the country and people here. I am determined to have a great year!
     
      Anyway, enough of that. We had an amazing vacation back home in Utah. I laugh, because when we were deciding as a family where we wanted to go for the summer, we talked about places like Europe, or Hawaii, or Australia, and in the end all of the kids really wanted to go home to Utah. They wanted to be with family and play with their cousins. It made me smile to know that they value their family so much. We weren't at all disappointed either. We had so much "cousin time"! Here's a little break-down of what we did:
     
           - Side-trip for Logan and me to Kansas (Thanks again for the car Brooklyn!!)
           - Road-trip back to our family in Utah
           - Spent a week getting over our jet-lag
           - Drove around Cache Valley
           - Fishing ... a lot
           - Time with Grandparents
           - Learned to make Native American knives out of obsidian using the traditional method
           - Hikes and drives to the bird refuge
           - Moab
           - A baptism for our two favorite little twin boys
           - Tomahawk throwing
           - Lots of cousin time
           - Swimming, bowling, roasting marshmallows
           - A Fourth of July race and small-town parade
           - Lots and lots of fireworks with family and great friends
           - Lots of family photoshoots
           - Pokemon Go
           - Temple Square
           - Outdoor running
           - A little bit of yard work
           - Family reunions
           - Lots of popsicles!
           - Aggie Ice-cream

Needless to say, it was an amazing trip. Dan came back a few weeks before the rest of us, and I think by the end of it all, we were happy, but ready to come home. Our flight back through Seattle and Japan was very easy. Everything went as planned. Its nice to have older kids who can work their own little screens and not panic on the flight when it stretches into ten or twelve hours! The kids were a wreck when we got home, and I think all of us slept for twenty hours straight. We had a few weeks to recover before school started again. Everyone seems to love their new teachers. Logan is a student ambassador this year, so he is helping with events around school, and assisting new students so that they feel welcome and comfortable. It's the perfect job for him!
Dan and I are busy doing a lot of leg-work to prepare for bidding season that is coming up this fall. It's a pretty big deal because it will determine where we live next. No pressure! This is a crazy life, but I am learning to appreciate it more and more. I'm so grateful to have the world perspective I now have, and I hope I am making the most of this opportunity! I'll say good-bye for now and leave you with my favorite pics from our vacation. I'll post again soon!

 Logan with me on the plane

Kansas-cousin-time








Gotta love America and the HUGE drinks you can find there! :)









 Fun night with tomahawks and obsidian knives!








Visiting Grandmere


A Day in Moab ... 105 degrees, but so beautiful!




 (whistle insert here!)










Visiting Grandpa Great!


A Baptism





Family Reunion!



My cute parents!


Abuelo!





Fourth of July BBQ at WaJu's




 Fourth of July run!

Speedy Gonzales here ran the mile in 7min, 11 seconds!


Yay Owen!


Worn out after the race.

The boys favorite little guy, baby S.



Fun games with the Toones








Cousins!

 Owen loved his cousin Tyson's pet hedgehog!





Truck ride with Grandpa!

Aggie ice-cream with Abuela and Abuelo!


 Football with cousins



 Sleep Over


Temple Square







Pretty shots of my lovely Perry, Utah















And finally, back to school! (Except Owen. He was sick for his first day!)