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Monday, August 29, 2011

The circle of life

Yes, I know I'm behind again. What's new? It's the story of my blogging life! Welcome to my world people! I've suffered from writers block again. I have noticed that when I am working through other things in my life the "easy" posts become harder. I NEED to write some of my life situations out. This is my own personal journal, right? LOL.
My children started school about 2 weeks ago. It really is a hard time for me. I've had a hard time since my youngest started first grade. Which in our area was full day, kindergarten was still half day. And that is where my challenges begin!

I stumbled upon motherhood. I wanted a career and a good daycare. I ended up falling in love, quitting college and then having kids. I LOVE MOTHERHOOD! I never thought I would but it has me in it's grips and most days I struggle with letting my kids go. It's so hard for me. I cry the first day of school and NOT from joy. I miss them. By the end of the day I'm sitting at the door impatiently waiting for my kids to come home. I miss them needing me like when they were younger. I think it a cruel thing to be a mother with the only purpose to love your kids and teach them to one day leave you! Does any other job do that?

I know someday they will leave me and I do want that. It's the circle of life. I don't baby my kids so that they must stay with me either. I try my hardest to give them the wings to fly without me. Somedays I would love to clip those wings and just hold them tight. To have ME be the center of their little universe. But that is not the way it goes. I need to teach them those little things so that they can become good members of society and start the circle all over again with their families.

Every year the beginning of school affects me and every year I take a day to feel sorry for myself. Then I move on and cry in private and hope that I tell my kids I love them enough and that I am giving them enough tools for life.This year is a little different, this year I know that I need to move on. I can't change how life goes. They will leave as they should and there is no way I would want any different for them. So, this year I am going to grow up myself. I'm going to decide what I want to do with my life outside the family. This year I started counseling to help me decide these things. Why counseling? To fight off the guilt I feel for not giving my all to my family.

I am one of those people that knows it is good for my kids to move on but feel guilty when I do things for me. It hasn't always been this way just in the last few years as I see them needing me less and less and as I feel that my "worth" is dwindling. I no longer know everything, I'm no longer supermom, I'm no longer the ONLY person they want for comfort or even just to play with. The guilt was getting so bad that I said sorry about everything even if it wasn't my fault. I got stuck in a rut and am now seeking help to deal with the future.

Of course when the kids were little I didn't do much thinking about things that I like and things that interest me. I dabbled in crafts, reading, writing, sewing and so many other things. I'm okay at a bunch of things but not really great at anything. This is a year for me to explore other talents that may have lain hidden, to find me while I continue to teach my kids to fly. WIthout guilt, without pressure but with the help and support of my family and friends. But most of all it is me getting off my pity pot that I'm old, that my kids don't need me and re-creating me. Millions of mothers before me have done this, millions of mothers have survived. It is the circle of life.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Let me tell you a little story.

Once upon a time way back  in 2008 the Olympics were held in Beijing, China. They created this swimming complex for all those competitions that are done in the water. This complex is called The Watercube. This is THE complex where Michael Phelps broke records and became the fastest man in water. We watched those Olympics more than any other.
Fast Forward to 2011....
When we decided to go to Beijing we knew we would go to see this Watercube and the other well known Stadium the Bird's Nest. However, what we did NOT know until we got to Beijing was that one of the pools at the Watercube was turned into a waterpark for the public to enjoy more and most likely earn more money. We HAD to go! HAD TO! Even Greyson, who isn't particularly fond of waterparks was ready to go. Think about it, Americans. In China. At the Watercube. Swimming. We were so there!
We toured the competition pools, did some looking around. Recognized the diving platforms from TV. Took our pics of Henry the Gnome and decided to get a little lunch. We find a table to sit at and instantly we are bombarded by people wanting our picture! There was one Grandma that just kept posing her Grandkids all around us and asking for more pictures. Then Greyson walked over with some of our food and the picture posing started ALL over again. As she's taking pictures other people are sneaking in photos of us while we are posing. It was hilarious!
The paparazzi finally leave us to our food and we start to look around at the waterpark portion of the Watercube. It LOOKS AWESOME! We down our food and head downstairs to the locker rooms and entrances. Bob pays for our way in and gets the key for our locker. The place is HUGE! There are a ton of kids running around without clothes on and some of the parents aren't much better. That's just out in the common areas where the lockers are located! We make our way to the shower areas and there are so many more totally naked bodies running around that I thought we had a stripper bar, Americans are so hung up on modesty! It was hilarious but Natalie was very uncomfortable. Even the dressing stalls don't have doors! We hurry and get our swimsuits on and leave to meet the boys to put stuff in the locker.
Now, remember that key Bob got for the locker. It works like an easy pass, you scan the key and the locker opens. We found a locker and put all our junk into it! Clothes, camera, passports, money. ALL in the little locker.
We enter the great OLYMPIC WATERPARK. This place is packed! And a little cold, they have aircon being pumped into it but get in the water and it's fine. There is a huge wave pool near a stage and they do shows on the stage every so often. There is also a big screen on the wall by the wave pool, this is great for watching the show. The show has blasting music, live dancers, an emcee and a balloonist dressed as a clown! During the show there are cameras that film the swimmers and when you are on the big screen you are splashed by EVERYONE! It was great! Grey loved it and Jake seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the people!
Natalie and I waited in line at the slides for a very long time. She wanted to do the red slide that actually shoots you UP! We decided against that one and went on the blue one that is much more tame. I still didn't like it, I hate being in an enclosed space in my older age. Greyson and Bob did the red slide and LOVED it. You are  put into a tube and they count down before you free fall into the slide! It was pretty cool but I couldn't get up the nerve to do it. We ended the trip with the lazy river and decided we were done.
There seems to be no such thing as water diapers here so I was a little more careful than I usually am at a pool. I saw lots of naked baby buts in the pool. We headed to the showers to wash off the chlorine and any thing else we may have picked up. Once again, tons of naked bodies all cramming into a tight space. However, the showers were nice and hot even with tons of people using them.
We all meet back at our locker and CAN NOT get the thing open! We try and try. The scanner thing is not working. The Chinese kid next to us starts speaking to us in ENGLISH! We were so happy to understand someone. Seems we made a HUGE mistake! There is actually a number on the key fob and THAT was the locker number we needed to use. NO ONE told us! ALL of our important stuff is in that locker! Unless someone who has that key came and threw our stuff out. It's a tense situation!  After some laughs at our benefit our new little friend helps us find an employee to help us.  Of course the employee knows no english and our mandarin is practically non-existent. (note: when visiting a foreign country brush up on the local language)  We are saved by our English speaking Chinese friend, again. They all laugh at us AGAIN but We all finally understand each other and the locker is opened! Wallah, Our stuff is safe and sound! We all breath a sigh of relief. That could have been so bad. I'm so grateful that the Chinese believe in teaching their kids a second language at an early age, I am also grateful that out of all those lockers we got the one by the kind english speaking grandfather and kids. God looks out for us fools!
Our trip to the watercube is over and we are all very happy. We end up finding a McDonald's for dinner, discuss our amazing time at the Cube and then find a ride back to the hotel. The ride was another one of our big mistakes but I'll save that for another post!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Beijing...Something to start with

We spent 7 glorious days in Beijing, China. 7 Days I would NEVER have EVER thought I would do! I'm an American girl who grew up basically in the middle of the USA. I was happy just to go the neighboring state. So, finding myself in CHINA was like a dream. It sometimes didn't feel like it was me. Even now and looking at all the pictures it doesn't seem like I was really there. I've said it a million times and I'll say it a million times more, I LOVE seeing these different cultures and learning from them. It is perhaps more fun to me than some of the sites we see.

The first thing I noticed about Beijing was the grass, the kind I'm use to in the US. It was odd at first. Then we started driving more into the city and there wasn't much grass left to see. There are millions of people in Beijing, literally! And I think everyone of them owns a car and all were on the rode while we were driving to the hotel. They drive on the right side of the rode, unlike Singapore, and that too was weird at first. We looked like the tourists we with our heads looking all around and sometimes with our mouths wide open. We realized that Beijing is very much like the US. We even looked up the coordinates of Beijing and it is about the same coordinates as where 2 of my sisters live in Nebraska. The only thing that was different was the people were a bit shorter and didn't have the pasty white skin tone, theirs is a beautiful caramel brown.

Looks a lot like where I grew up
There were also TONS of bikes/scooters/motorcycles EVERYWHERE! I've seen bikes but these ones seemed to multiply! Some had seats on the back for the rider, some just had 2 or more people on them balancing and driving along, at the same time! Sometimes the bikes weaved in and out of traffic and the cars would honk. I will never again complain about Singapore traffic after being in Beijing. With all the people and cars and bikes it is an aggressive path to anywhere you may want to go.
this is a tame picture of traffic

The food was always good and always a surprise. Our tour guide, Lily, took us around most of the time we were there and we told her we wanted Chinese food and not Western food. She obliged and we had some of the most delicious food! We ate tons of vegetables that I'm going to start adding to our dinners and we had some of the best noodles I have ever had in my life! I even ate mushrooms AND liked them! We are expanding our palate little by little but I have not been disappointed yet! It's such a refreshing change from the same old food we were use to.
Beijing noodles! Even Henry, our Gnome loved them

One of the biggest things we noticed was all the Chinese writing on everything. DUH! I don't know why it surprised us at first. You go to any big city and most everything is written in the local language and maybe one more. English was few and far between on buildings and it wasn't one of the most widely used languages but we found enough people who knew enough English to help us to get what we wanted or needed. We went to a grocery store and I didn't see ANY English on any of the products unless it was part of the description of the product, Lay's potato chips were "English style". Chinese writing is beautiful and it almost added to the beauty of the buildings.
no idea what it says but it sure looks pretty

We live in Singapore, I have seen Chinese, they have seen westerners. However, in Beijing we were like a rare creature. People asked to take our pictures, A LOT! We had people silently stand next to us and pose, I think I scared one lady when I turned around and smiled for her picture! We all got asked to be in at least one picture alone. The kids were the bigger hit, they were asked so much that Jake and Nat both said their cheeks hurt from smiling. We would have been able to pay for our trip if we charged for the pictures, that's how much we got asked! I wonder what the people say when they show the pictures of us westerners to their families. Hope we left a good impression.

one of many pics taken of us

Friday, August 5, 2011


We just got back from Beijing, China last night. 9 wonderful days. Some frustrating some not but all exhilarating!

I want to make so many blog posts but my history shows I'm awful at the frequent posting thing. Life gets in my way or writers block starts. There are still some posts I want to do about things we did in JUNE!

However, I just really don't know where to start on the things we did and the things we saw in China. Do I start with the Forbidden City and it's great architecture, or just the plain history of China which is really very overwhelming in itself. Do I begin with the people who are so kind and rude sometimes at the same time. Do I start with my take as an American overseas? Those things that may seem weird or rude to me but not to the natives of that particular country. Or maybe I should start with the Great Wall, something I only colored in on a map while in school, a place so far away it was impractical to really even think about! A place we loved so much we did it TWICE! So many things that I thought about and wondered at. I love how traveling makes me feel younger and makes me think of life.

So, we had a very, very nice trip. I'm so glad that we have been given this great opportunity in life. Not only for my husband's career but also for where we are able to go. It doesn't cost as much as if we lived in the states and it really is a totally different world then the one we were use to. I'm so glad I get to show these things to my kids and the conversations that we have over different lifestyles and cultures. It has been so fun doing these things.

I think I need to think more on what to write so I'll leave you with one of my favorite pictures.