Tuesday, September 29, 2009

big belly

Sometimes I still miss my pregnant belly. And now that Claire is almost one, I find myself thinking about the anticipation and joy and nervousness and impatience of the last couple of weeks before her birth. Justin and I have both been going through her newborn pictures (how tiny!) and I took another look at my belly shots.
Five months? I thought I looked sooo pregnant. My belly button had just popped.
This is the Grape look. Less than two months to go.
Still amazes me (and weirds me out a bit!) what the female body is able to do.
Her tiny feet were jammed into my lungs.
Doesn't he look like he knows he got away with something?
At the baby shower, Josh thought he might pull off a pregnant look. I win.
One of my favorite big belly shots. This is a maternity shirt my Mom wore when she was pregnant with me. I still had a couple of weeks to go!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


On our way! We traveled much lighter than when we left for Colombia. Which is why I keep looking for something that I left in my parents' basement.
Claire was a cheerful travel buddy. Most of the time. Just like I was a cheerful travel buddy most of the time.
Justin napping at the Frankfurt airport. Yes, that is a frankfurter we ate for lunch. I could not resist. (Get it?)
At the Kuwait airport we saw an Egyptian bride. They arrive dressed ready for their wedding, even if it is ten o'clock at night. I might have shied away from snapping the picture, but the happy couple was accompanied by a man filming their walk through the airport so what's one more flash?
Claire loves her big windows. She pats them, bangs them, slobbers raspberries on them. We look out at the sand, sand colored apartment buildings, a row of palms, the Gulf, trucks driving across the desert, and a dumpster. We talk about all of it.
Yes. I had to mop the floor by myself. Justin took a picture to commemorate. I was going for the Happy Housewife look. (Tomorrow our new maid/nanny and I will choose a day for her to clean each week).
This is our shoe pile. The shoes made me smile because of the two little pink shoes.

Friday, September 25, 2009

friday five: emmerging personality

1. October's book club selection is My Life in France by Julia Child. She writes about reflecting on her character weaknesses and says "I was thirty-seven years old and still discovering who I was." I absolutely love Julia Child for writing that. Gives me immense hope.

She also tells about preparing a meal for a friend; when the meal was terrible, Julia decided not to apologize. That was a rule she made for herself. No apologizing for poor cooking. And I absolutely love her for writing that too. I apologize for hitting the wrong button in the elevator. Sorry for nothing. I need to save my sorries.

2. Croissants! A la Julia! I made a dozen croissants the other day and they turned out beautifully. I did not think the recipe was difficult but I had to be patient and precise at each step. When I took the first pan out of the oven, I ate one standing up at the counter. Then I shared another with Justin, and gave away most of them to friends. I have one left for tea this afternoon. Tomorrow I'll make a double batch and freeze them to pop in the oven when I'm in the mood for something French.

3. France! I want to eat and drink my way through France now. I also want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, learn to scuba dive, and drink a Guinness in Ireland. What comes first?

4. Claire. I've known her for almost a year now and I'm seeing this little person find her personality. She has a sense of humor. She's curious. She is starting to become quite stubborn. Keeping her alive and loving on her is one thing but Justin and I are both a little nervous about making sure that Claire develops into a nice person. Of course, nice isn't overnight or owing entirely to parenting but still - Mama and Papa have to learn how.

5. Temperature. The days are much, much cooler now than when we first arrived in Kuwait. A couple of weeks ago, I could have baked my croissants outside. The temperature and the humidity has dropped and I've been enjoying several clear days - I can see a good stretch of the Gulf from our windows. And bodies acclimate fairly quickly. We went for a walk to the Gulf last night and I wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought I'd be in the low nineties heat.

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

dial up

Maybe eight or nine months ago, my in-laws got high speed internet. This was a big deal to us because it meant that they could Skype and see their granddaughter. We rolled our eyes that it took so long (after years of remaining staunch devotees to dial up, there were months of service calls and price comparisons that might have ended completely had not Claire's grandma really wanted to see her). But we were also living in the land of everything taking so long, so had a bit of sympathy for the back and forth business of getting anything done. Well, we are back in that land of everything taking so long, this time on the other side of the world. And being back in that land of everything taking so long means that we have dial up until the guys with high speed connections connect us.

I just spent fifteen minutes trying to load one (one!) picture to this blog before canceling that idea and deciding to pout. So pictures must wait.

Settle for an update. Claire has four teeth. Two top, two bottom This means she can eat a whole plum or gnaw a piece of apple when she isn't busy trying to sink her teeth into my arm or shoulder. She is also close to walking. I'm beginning to think that being close to walking might be a stage unto itself. She is also getting attached to her teddy bear, which I think is sweet since I had a little lamb I was attached to also. She is very verbal but still has more of a grasp on "uh oh" than, say "Mama" or "Papa." And even "uh oh" might be regressing since lately she's been saying "uh uh." Hm. Let's see. She also poops a lot, which isn't news but is making me rethink the environmental goody goody part of me that bought cloth diapers - when you practically need a spatula to scrape the poo off a diaper before sending it through the wash, you think it might be a better idea to just pitch the whole mess and set up a corner of wood shavings.

Well, Claire is awake and no doubt wants a clean diaper and some lunch. Despite the poo, she cracks me up. Enjoy your Saturday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

and I really am

Last night, ASK hosted an iftar or breaking of the fast, a traditional big meal that starts at sundown during Ramadan. Fasting Muslims spend their days not eating or drinking and spend their nights making up for lost meals. In Kuwait, the iftar is called the (phonetic spelling ahead, as I have no idea how it's actually spelled) fah-tour. Perhaps by the end of the meal (Krispy Kreme donuts and Arabian sweets laden with honey to finish!), you might just say what a great fat-you-are. Ha.

Anyway, we were eating and sweating in the school courtyard, and talking with other teachers and their families. Rick asked me how I was.

"Fine," I said, "And I really mean that. I'm not just saying it."

Rick wanted to know why I really meant it. I had to think. Why am I really feeling fine? There are (always, always) non-fine things to gripe about but I am feeling bouyant. Content. Not drippy happy sappy, but pleased and content.

I told him, I think it's because I'm enjoying my days. I didn't know what to expect of staying at home but it's still going well. (Still going well is such an optimistic spin, isn't it? Like any day it might not be going well at all. And when that happens, my friends, I have a stash of Ritter Sport chocolate bars in reserve). But this is what I like: I don't yet feel any nagging boredom or exasperation at being a mom. I didn't expect to feel any more bored or exasperated at this job - mamahood - than I felt at any other job - paper route gal, cat-sitter, babysitter, library book shelver, Alumni Relations envelope licker, DOT gopher and road survey editor, Pizza Hut delivery driver, teacher. Did I miss any?

And a few people here are reaching out in thoughtful ways. Last night one of our neighbors promised to send me a phone number and website for Happy Chappies, a Montessori school nearby that offers parent and baby programs. She did and I think I'll look into one of the afternoon activities. I'm also checking out the British Academy of International Arts for cooking classes and (I'd really enjoy this) printmaking. In November I might run with the high school cross country team once in awhile. So life here continues to come together. Not a bad first month.

Racking up my miles on a treadmill. I'm running early in the morning, around 5:30, so that I'm finished by the time Claire wakes. I've been managing between nine and ten miles a day, five days a week. Marcia and I are hoping to figure out a set day or two a week we can meet up for runs and another new friend, Ramona, and I have talked about finding the local Hash. And, for the first time in my life, I'm running with an ipod. I've only sent it flying off the treadmill twice. Better the ipod than me, I guess.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


1. The phone line will be fixed so that you can get broadband internet
2. The phone line will be fixed so that you can get broadband internet (soon)
3. I will post pictures this week or weekend

There. That's out of the way. We are finding routine, Claire and I together during the day and Justin in his classroom. After two years of only one teaching prep, Justin now has three different courses he teaches and six classes of students. He'll be fine. Then he decided to coach JV girls' soccer. This season. He'll be fine. We both fall into bed around nine o'clock and sleep like rocks.

I keep myself entertained learning to cook different recipes (I'll post recipes that work), making a near daily trip down to the pool with Claire (she's dunking and not screaming about it now), laughing at Claire (and with her) when she's being silly. I am reading and writing and am amazed that I have the creative capacity to generate ideas that turn into characters on the page. I think teaching - despite all the writing I did in its own context, and all the literature I read and reread - sucked a bit of my own ability to actually create.

So this is shaping up to be a good year: I found a running partner (we ran a stretch of beach just to say we did, breathing air like an oven); my feet will find their way to a pedicurist soon; the flat bread and hummus is amazing (Claire agrees) and the olive selection, oh, the olive selection (a post on olives alone, at some point); Justin is a happy man here with prospects lined up to join a desert biking club and a men's soccer league as soon as his coaching season is over; we found a church that we like enough to keep going; I don't have to encounter gossippy work stuff unless I invite it; we're making new friends, warm and comfortable people to be around (Claire is meeting new friends too, chief among them is Elliot).

We are doing well. I'll post pictures soon (third promise, mine to you) and you just hope the first two promises come through soon so I can do a better job emailing and keeping up with your blogs. Until then, I'd best go see what my Claire is up to now. Enjoy, enjoy.