Monthly Archives

February 2013

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My Favorite Way to Wake Up

He nudges me in the soft early morning light.  It’s not time to wake up, but he’s so snuggly and sweet I can never refuse his small body burrowing under the covers next to mine.
“Are you mommy?” he whispers.
“Yes, I’m mommy.”  This is something he does regularly in the dark, in the night, when the lights are low.  
“Are you my mommy?” he asks as he touches my face.
“Yes, I’m your mommy.  Your mama-mee.”
“Are you the nicest mommy?” he wonders.
“Yes.  I am.” (Well, what would you say?)
“Are you the prettiest mommy in the whole wide world?” he declares, not so much of a question and definitely not whispering anymore.
“Well, yes, sweet boy.  I guess I am.”

My heart melted over and over as Grunter wrapped his little boy arms around my neck, hugging me tight as he said he loved me.
I’ve never been told I was the nicest or prettiest, but this little boy, MY little boy thinks his mommy is the best thing in the world.  It doesn’t matter if I don’t think I’m the prettiest mommy, which I assure you I do not, someone does.  My child.
What an amazing thing.

There have been many different ‘favorite ways to wake up’ in my 43 years, but right here, right now, this one tops them all.

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Stolen Pregnancy Photos

Long time readers will remember that more than once in the past I have had my pregnancy photos stolen and posted on FB’s accounts.
It’s happened AGAIN.
I can’t be sure, but I think this is the 5th time.
What is up with that?
Why would anyone post a photo of MY pregnant twin belly and then try to pass it off as their own for thousands of people to see??

And the irony of this last THIEF, is that the woman calls herself “Fashion” and yet she posts a belly shot of ME in Old Navy pj pants and a white sports bra?! WTF?!
Ha! Ha!
Not so fashionable!
If you’re going to be all low class and steal photos, for god’s sake at least do your homework a bit better.
Urgh.

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Travel Abroad or Move Abroad?

These two motivate me to be a better person every single day.
******************

“What’s the plan?”


“I don’t know.  I’m waiting.  It doesn’t feel right.  I can’t rush these things.”

I stop asking and wait.  I’ve learned, after 12 years, that continuing to ask, push, prod and poke is not going to get me an answer I want.

That’s where we were last fall.  I believe it was November, right about the time I started my blogging ‘hiatus’.  It looked, at that time, that we might not travel at all.  Chicken had landed a prime project and had no plans of sacrificing career mobility in pursuit of travel.
Her words, “this is YOUR
dream, not mine”, effectively crushed me.

I suppose I could’ve blogged about that.  But it felt so spoiled and elitist and just plain wrong.  Really, I mean, I was sad and angry and getting depressed…because I couldn’t travel for a year with my family?  Really?  There are so many bigger things in the world to worry about. Talk about your first world problems.  I was more than a bit obnoxious about my disappointment.  
After a long soul search, I snapped and realized how ridiculous I was being about the entire thing.  So we don’t travel right now.  That’s OK.
What’s the rush, right?  After all, the older the boys are, the easier it will be getting around, having them carry their own bags, etc.
But for me, having this deadline equals having a goal and that is something that has been lacking in my life since…I got pregnant.  That’s almost 4 years.  My only ‘goals’ in the past 4 years have revolved around the kids and their needs.  Yes, yes, I know you aren’t supposed to do this, lose yourself in your children and abandon YOU.  But I have, I did and now I’m finally able to come out of the fog (more and more) and do something for me because it’s been all about the twins.

The terrible two’s weren’t terrible at all.  They were tough, but that was expected.  Personally, I had a lot of fun, yes I also drank a bit more, but overall I have a very positive memory of the past year.  Also, what I’ve never shared, is that I’ve been doing this all alone.  Since the boys were born I have either had Chicken or a nanny helping out.  But after we returned from Costa Rica last winter, I knew I needed to let our nanny go and earmark that cash for travel.
Since last April, closing up on a year, I’ve been completely on my own.  And I do mean all day, every day, day in and day out.  No family around, no help.  Chicken has been traveling more and more with her job (presently she’s traveling for 8 solid weeks, only home on the weekends) and while this is great for her career, it’s tough here at home.
The ‘trip’ or ‘travel’ was my super bright light shining down the calendar year and hearing it might not happen took my light away.

And then…interesting how the universe takes her time…things just started happening.  Circumstances in Chicken’s job changed, all still good, but changes nevertheless.  
In the space of less than a month we are suddenly looking at two new job opportunities in either Hong Kong or Singapore.  Plus, Chicken finally brought up the conversation with her superiors about taking a sabbatical for a year (or less) and that went very well.
Many positive things are happening and I have to believe only more good things are in store.

Honestly, I don’t know which option I’d choose. I do research on HK and decide I want to move.  Then I hear more about families raising kids in Singapore and determine that’s where we need to be.
So, maybe we’ll be moving to Asia this year.  Or maybe not.  I do have a voice in the matter, but ultimately, it will be Chicken’s decision as it’s her work.  Any of the options are fantastic as they all include two of the key things–travel and Asia!

For today, I am trying my hardest to focus on the NOW.  Stop trying so damn hard to pinpoint exactly when these things will happen in the future and simply step back and accept that the right things will happen.  The less I try to control, the happier I am going to be.  I’m choosing to live now and in the moment.  I don’t want to look back and realize I missed out because I was so busy looking ahead.

During the day it’s all, “he’s touching me!!” but when the lights go off….

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I’ve been asked by a few other bloggers to write more in detail about “how” I met some of these travel lifestyle goals.  If there’s something you would like to know more about regarding our travel plans–don’t be shy, just ask!
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Update #2 on Travel Lifestyle Goals

Hello, Mr. Crab, pleased to meet you
It’s been so long since I’ve posted I hardly know where to start, so I’m just going to dive in with it.
Back in September–I can hardly believe it’s already five months ago–I blogged about our travel lifestyle goals here.



So, I might as well start with some updates.  Let’s go!

 Just another sunset in Ko Phayam
My friend, a former Hell’s Angel.  We made an unlikely duo.

Financial Goals:

Accumulate enough frequent flier miles for




us all to fly free round-trip NYC-Bangkok — 100%

  • In Sept. this goal was met with the caveat that two of us would be flying on American Airlines and two of us would be on Delta Airlines.
  • As of Feb. 2013, we have enough American Airlines/partner miles for ALL FOUR of us to fly for free round trip.  Originally, we wanted to fly Cathay Pacific, but it looks like we’ll be aiming for Japan Airlines though Tokyo. 
Earn an ‘adequate’ amount of Starwood/Marriott/Hyatt/Hilton hotel points to ‘cushion’ our stay from time to time when we need a break — 100%
  • We continue to accumulate points, almost exclusively through Starwood.  Our goal was to use our American Airlines Visa card until our airlines miles goals were met, then to switch over to our Starwood AmEx card so we could keep working on the hotel points.
  • As of Feb. 2013, we have enough Starwood points for a 2 week vacation here over Christmas and New Year holidays.
  • Or we could divvy up the points for different stays along the way.  For instance, they also have some nice properties in Vietnam.  We plan to spend one month in Vietnam, so staying somewhere like this along the way would be a welcome change from guesthouses.
  • Regardless, we still have 8 months of spending to accumulate points plus Chicken is doing loads of travel for her job presently, so those miles and points are going to keep adding up.
Reserve savings to sustain us for 6 months upon return — 100%

Save enough money to travel for one year without working — 100%
  • In September, this was 65%, but the goal has now been met!
A roll of toilet paper for a napkin dispenser?  In South East Asia, yes, yes, yes.

Personal Goals:

Develop a location independent income stream — 0% – 100%

  • This is something I’ve really dropped the ball on getting started.  There have been some good changes lately that is going to make it possible for ME to start getting more ‘work’ done.  I’m looking forward to doing something for ME!
  • Kate has leads from past employers for project work she can do remotely.  So, for her, perhaps this goal is 100%.

Potty Train the boys (except for nights) — 100%

  • Fully daytime trained for the past 6 months.
  • If we still have to use diapers at night while we travel I am totally fine with this, especially since we’ll be sleeping on mattresses and linens other than our own…
  • Many times Grunter wakes up dry, so we could get there in 8 months time, right?


Switch boys to ‘real’ beds —
100%

  • This was a disaster at last update.  But we made it and they can now sleep anywhere.  We’ve even had different people put them to bed (family members, baby sitters) and all is well in the kingdom of sleep.  Yeah!

Go Stroller-Free — 100%


  • They are good little walkers and can go quite far before getting truly tired.  As long as I keep pushing us to not use the stroller here at home, I’m confident they can build up their stamina to keep up while traveling.  Especially since we’re not going to be doing long walks/hikes, etc.  
  • Plus there will always be a bus / motorbike / tuk tuk / songtaew / taxi / boat / skytrain / back of a pick up truck / ferry / donkey cart / elephant / subway — just around the corner to rescue us!  Did I miss any forms of transport?!
  • I was set on ditching the stroller on their 3rd birthday (2 weeks ago), but I’m not going to until summertime/warmer weather.  In NYC, your stroller is your car and right now, until it’s scooter weather, I need my ‘car’ more than they do.  Half the time, they end up walking while I push an empty stroller.
  • Instead of ditching the stroller, I emptied it, folded it up and and am storing it down in our bike room.  This way, if we need it that day, we go get it, but if not, we walk, etc.  This also means that for the first time in THREE years, I don’t have a massive double stroller sitting in my dining room area!  That, is lovely.

No Naps Needed — 100%

  • In September this was 40%, but shortly after the move to ‘big boy’ beds, they dropped the nap completely.  They have never napped in their open bed.  Never. They can fall asleep on the bus, the subway, the stroller, the car, etc. but the bed, at home?  Never.
My friend in the cafe, who comes to work from Burma during the high season