"The palest ink is better than the best memory" ~Chinese Proverb

Sunday, October 26, 2014


We've been here almost a week, and while there are still deep scars to heal from the year of separation and saying goodbye to family, friends and our Jackie, I am pretty sure we are going to love it here. No internet or cable yet, but there is so much to see and do outside our door, who cares? I blew out my hairdryer and flat iron on the first day because of course I did, stupid 220V whatever. I now have a new dumb hairdryer that's dumb, but enough about my hair.

You guys, the second day after I got here I took a tram and a bus by myself. I did get lost a bit, but 40 euros later and a little bag of delicious chocolates and a 12 pack of French macarons for the kids and I was back on the right track. Belgian Kate is superior to Brazil Kate, is all I can say. My first week French is even better than my third year portuguese was.

The kids love their school. It's beautiful and set in the woods and they've all made friends. Dogs rule here (you can tell by the shit on the sidewalks), and they are welcome in stores and restaurants, so Seamus is kept busy by all the new butts to smell.

We are happy with our townhouse. Guess how many floors we have?

Four. Not counting the basement, which is old and creepy and filled with dead bodies, probably.

No, this is not an apartment stairwell. It's the inside of our house. I haven't seen Henry's little suite on the top floor yet, but I'm told it's quite lovely. The stairs are especially cool in that every one is a different size and they are all tilted in different directions. The first words out of one of the kids' mouth as they were tromping up them for the first time was, "Well, these stairs aren't up to code". Because Mitch is their dad.

The girls occupy the third floor.  They've shared a room every since they shared a womb, and this is the first time they have their own rooms. What's really cool is that they have sleepovers. Every. Single. Night. Grace even has a balcony (Olivia had no interest in having a door in her room for robbers to get in). 

Just up the street from our townhouse is a gorgeous park. The park has a waffle truck because we deserve it. Henry took one bite and said it was the closest he's ever been to a spiritual awakening. 

Sharing is caring.

You can rent a little rowboat or hop on a tiny ferry to get to that island restaurant. We did not try it yet because waffles.

My dog and my man and swans and shit.

Not a dump.

Things that are cheap here: wine, cheese, bread. Things that are expensive: everything else. We're all set. 

Well, I gotta go pack my backpack and fill my waterbottle for the trip up to Henry's room now.

 I'll leave you with a pic of our darling backyard:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Little Things That Are Dumb After Packout

No straws for my iced coffee.

Horribly unAmerican-sized, borrowed coffee mugs:

Having no shoes but Havaianas to wear out in public (don't worry, I haven't lost my mind--packing no shoes was entirely deliberate wink-wink).

No laundry soap. After Googling "can you launder clothes with shampoo", I begged my reliable neighbor, who came through with the suds.

Blogging on an iPad.

Eating dumb food that I never wanted to eat in the first place, which is why it's still in the pantry. Stupid fad superfoods of gross dumbness.

Mint Chip

Breakfast when you are a bad mom and are trying to use up all the food before you fly out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Moving Day(s)

The move was one of the smoothest we've ever had. I think having a year to prepare helped. I can say that we are traveling without junk for the first time...uh, ever? Of course, my version of junk versus two eleven year-old's versions of junk aren't entirely the same thing. We were WAY under our weight allowance this time. I got rid of about 1/3 of my shoes (I KNOW!) and carefully stuffed the toes with tissue paper and nestled them in their traveling boxes. Even with having gotten rid of so many, by the time the movers were done packing them up, they looked like this:

I love how they even took off their shoes. So civilized! 

Meanwhile, while the movers sleep like babies, I am suffering contusions and third degree burns from the Departure Kit sheets the embassy provided us. I feel certain they are woven from steel wool.

Anyway, at least I know where Henry's retainer is:

See you on the other side, and if you know of good orthodontist in Washington State, let me know, 'mkay?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Back in the Swing

He's been back a week and it's actually surprising how quickly everything has gotten back to normal. As normal as things can be without my firstborn. I've still only heard from him in one word responses, but through bank account stalking I DO know he purchased a video game. Wouldn't you think, if you had time to play a video game, that you could spare ten minutes to call the woman who survived 36 hours of labor and gave birth to you with no pain relief? Whatever, dude. Maybe I'll dole out your tuition payments in exchange for Facetime.

Friday was my last day of work. I didn't cry or anything (like a boss, yo. A Xanax boss), but I am still kind of sad about it. Getting paid (albeit an adorable amount) to write whatever I want is a pretty sweet gig. And now we just have two weeks left in Brazil. Not much to do, everything is sold or donated. Even my beloved Kitchenaid Pro is gone. The kids are still in schoolthankthelord, so it's just the two of us, jockeying for counterspace in my bathroom. I guess I'll start a new exercise regime?  HAHAHAHAHA. I kill myself.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Well, That's Over

The waiting is the hardest part.
He's home. This is the post in which I expected to say, "Everything is wonderful, we are just enjoying being together, good food, good wine, blahblahblah".  And it IS wonderful to have him home, but I can see that there will be a recovery period. Right now, mostly all we are doing is sleeping. I have a year of missed sleep to catch up on and he has jetlag and I'm sure a bit of PTSD. I've never slept so much in my life. I know he wants to talk about the things that happened over there, but I've asked him to wait a few more days until the ground we are on stops quaking. He keeps trying to lure me outside to the sunshine, but I still feel happiest in my cave for now.

The kids, of course, are thrilled to have their dad back, but it's also business as usual for them. Middle School is very dramatic, and soandso likes Olivia but he's a jerk and whatshername said Grace has a crush on this other boy, but they ARE JUST FRIENDS.

The dog is happily following Mitch around everywhere, but he is still traumatized by Jack's disappearance and spends a portion of every day walking in and out of his bedroom, whining. Okay, I do it too. So sue me.

In the next few weeks we will be packing out and headed to the States for our required home leave. I am in disbelief that the year is actually over. I would like to say that we thrived, but for now it's enough to just say we survived and leave it at that. Also, why does he keep using my bathroom?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Too Stalkery?

Well, Jack is apparently too busy to give me full accounts of his days. I briefly texted with him yesterday, but he was very busy watching the USC-Fresno game at some Brazilian grad students' apartment. Here's what I know he did this weekend according to his debit card: bought a skateboard but not a helmet. Purchased something for $6 at Gateway Plaza Mall. Did one load of laundry.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bad Habits

If all goes according to plan, my mate will be home this weekend and I plan to kiss the shit out of his face. My fingers are crossed that it actually happens though, because Uncle Sam has been kind of a dick to us lately. He won't let Mitch defer his required 30 day home leave until next summer when the kids are out of school, so we have two options. The kids and I can go to Brussels while he does home leave, or they will miss a month of school and we will all do home leave together. I refuse to tell my kids they won't see their dad for another month AFTER HE SERVED FOR OVER A YEAR IN A WAR ZONE FOR HIS COUNTRY. So they will miss a month of education but they will do it on American soil, dammit! We will be pinning all our hopes on Jack to support his siblings when they drop out of school because they fell behind. Pardon my French. I've been practicing on Duolingo for Pottymouths.

I'm a little nervous about Mitch coming home and discovering all the bad habits I've developed in his absence. I've whittled down my Brazilian heels by about 30%, so maybe he won't even notice? Plus, I've been hiding a bunch of shoes in "empty" boxes. Shhhhh.

When I am alone I don't sleep very well, so I've developed the habit of playing Candy Crush Saga in the middle of the night on my iPad. I'm horrified/embarrassed/ashamed that I am now on Level 488 and have plans to make it to 500 before he gets home.

I've always had a rule that everyone sits down to the table for dinner together every night, with the exception of Friday Family Movie and Pizza night. See how rigid I was? Anyway, I'm afraid dinner has devolved to pancakes and Netflix more often than not with just me and the three little ones left.

Grooming. If I'm not leaving the house, I don't even wear eyebrows anymore. Let alone comb my hair or get out of my pjs. I still bathe and brush my teeth; I'm not Olivia an animal or anything. 

Eating in bed. Every morning I practically have to carry all my dirty dishes downstairs in a laundry basket.

Sleeping on his side/in the middle of the bed. Because I can.

Sleeping with my iPad, laptop, two phones, the dog, and a Kindle. I have no idea why I'm too distracted to sleep well.

Watching entire seasons of TV shows in one day. House of Cards, Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, whatever. I won't stop until the final credits roll because who's there to judge me?

Alcohol. This one will surprise you guys. I quit! I know, I know, not drinking is not a bad habit per se, but I think I would be nicer if I drank a glass of wine now and then. I am trying to treat my body as a temple and only consume whole, healthy foods and drinks. I also want to be a fully present mother for my children. Haha! Kidding! I kill myself. Booze just doesn't go well with my pills vitamins.

Obsessively scanning the news. I'm hoping this resolves itself once Mitch is back in friendly territory.

Ignoring the mail. On his last R&R, Mitch started opening mail from the pile and found a bunch of medical reimbursement checks. He didn't think my excuse that the "mail looked boring" was very good.

Spitting my toothpaste out in the sink and not rinsing it out. This is one Mitch absolutely hates. I don't really like it either, but I do it because I CAN, bitches.

Speeding tickets. I have so, so many. I blame the pills vitamins.Wait, no. I blame Obamacare. Benghazi? Either way, I'm going to have to figure out how to pay them or they won't let me leave Brazil. 

Wow. That is a really long list. Maybe I'll just wear a really low-cut top and he won't notice all the bad habits. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

And Then There Were Four of Us

My firstborn left us for college last weekend. It was hard on me, but Olivia totally stole my thunder and cried her eyes out at the airport.

Why don't they tell you about the part where your kid leaves you during sex-ed class? 

The next day, Olivia and Seamus cried for hours on Jack's bed while Henry and Grace buzzed about the room grabbing everything that wasn't nailed down .

I barely heard from Jack the first few days. My amazing friend Katie took him shopping at Target, so I was able to get a little information from her. Finally, though, he needed a favor. He wanted me to check something on his old laptop. I held the information hostage until he chatted with me AND sent me a picture of his dorm. If that's the way it has to be, I can play along. I'm holding the purse strings, after all. He wasn't able to pick up the linen package we ordered him for several days after he moved in, so according to Mitch he slept on balled up sweatshirts and dried himself off with a shirt. He told ME he already had his linens so I wouldn't pester him and fret.

These are the kind of conversations we've been having.

Since he refuses to tell me any details because he's a grown-ass man, I've had to resort to stalking his debit card, which is linked to our account. So far I know he's eaten at Subway and a couple of burrito places. He bought a lightbulb at the University Bookstore. What? Everybody stalks their kids via their bank accounts, don't they?

On Monday morning, I got a call from the middle school. Olivia had a terrible stomachache and needed to be picked up. I left work, but when I got to the school she seemed fine. This is when she confessed that it wasn't her stomach that hurt, but her heart. We went home, got in our pjs and watched 80s movies together for the rest of the day. We will get there, but I don't like all this extra room in my nest.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014