Oops ... I Did It Again

Apparently I don't know how to sit on my hands very well, because when election time came around last night at our almost 1100 person elementary school, somehow my hand slowly went into the air.

Just like in ...

2007 - 2008, when I was the President of the American Embassy International Preschool in Israel.

And in 2009 - 2010, when I was appointed to the School Board at the American International School of Chennai.

Say hello to the newly elected PTA School Board Treasurer at our elementary school for the 2012 - 2013 school year.

At least I'm putting my money where my mouth is ... and I realize I'm MUCH more of a do-er than a say-er.

But don't worry. I'll find a way to complain about it. I always do!


It Feels Like Groundhogs Day Around Here ...

Didn't I JUST go through this a few months ago?

Meet the newest brace face!
Who's THRILLED to look like her sister!
You've never met a child who wanted braces as much as this one.

That is, until you met this one.


In The Blink Of An Eye He Was Gone ... Again

It may have been two years ago when I wrote this ... but I remember this day like it happened yesterday. I remember exactly how I felt when I woke up that morning. How my mind wandered as I made the drive to the airport. I even remember when I had to pull the car over because I couldn't drive through the tears that came as I pulled out of the departure area at LAX.

Today was no different. Same feelings. Same fears. Same tears as I pulled onto the freeway. Despite all the planning and the preparations for the past year, bidding adieu is never easy. In fact, having this lead time was probably WAY more difficult, with too much anticipation.

I'm just thankful that unlike Matt's last unaccompanied tour to Baghdad, this one to Afghanistan has me far more settled. I'm in my OWN house. My support system is moving into place. And our friends are already stepping in to ensure that the kids and I are well cared for. With an invitation for dinner tonight from one of my dearest. To the brave ones, who whisked the girls away for the next few days to an amusement park so they would keep their minds off of missing their daddy.

We needed these distractions. Just as we all needed to exhale and have this new chapter in our lives finally begin.

And as I waved to Matt tonight, while he slowly walked alone into the Dulles airport terminal, I didn't say, "good-bye." But rather through silent tears, I whispered the mantra those of us in the Foreign Service always recite ... "until we meet again."


Last Week Was A Doozy ...

... I almost don't even know where to begin.

In an effort to maintain my composure, which is quite difficult even in blog-post form, I'm going attempt to briefly summarize what we've been up to in our neck of the woods since you last heard from me.

It all began when I got the call last Sunday, Mother's Day, that my beloved grandfather had passed away. Though not a surprise that it happened, the shock of it was not as easy to deal with as one would expect. Chaotic plans were then made for me to take all the kids to South Bend, Indiana to attend the funeral. Plans that didn't include Matt, for he was finishing up his last few days at work so he could departing for the first leg of his unaccompanied tour this weekend.

Then, Monday was not only Grady's 3rd birthday, but it was also the day that the movers came for Matt's UAB (Unaccompanied Air Baggage). Of course, in true Perlman fashion, the majority of "stuff" that he needed was purchased from Costco and Target at the very last minute (also known as, the day before the movers came). Oh yeah, on Mother's Day. The one day that SHOULD have been my day to relax and enjoy. Not schlep. Or pack. Or spend the afternoon at Riley's re-scheduled softball game ...

Grady's birthday - our friend's gave him mustaches

Matt's pack-out

Anyway ... Monday, and the pack-out, and Grady's birthday came and went, and Tuesday quickly followed with our big trip to South Bend. I pulled the kids out of school, we arrived in Chicago around 1 pm where we met my brothers and my mom at the airport, I rented a minivan, and after hitting Starbucks and McDonald's, finally hit the road for the 2.5 hour drive.

While funerals are never easy, the three days with the family were truly fantastic. My girls had an absolute blast reconnecting with their cousins, staying up until the wee hours of the night, and building new relationships with cousins and aunties. It was worth every single minute of chaos.

Left: Me and most of my 1st cousins ... Right: Many of my 1st cousin's kids!

Until we tried to fly home.

United Airlines somehow "lost" the girls reservations, and couldn't get us onto our originally scheduled 6 pm flight. I'll admit that we DID arrive at the airport with very few minutes to spare. And yeah, we DID get stuck in a long security line, and then had to sprint through the airport with 4 carry-on bags, stroller, and CAR SEAT, all while wearing a pair of high heeled shoes. But we made it to the gate in PLENTY of time to board. That is, if they had 4 seats left. Which they didn't. Because, as they told me, they always oversell these flights, and despite having 4 paid-tickets, they only had 3 seats.

So we were bumped. Hopefully onto the next flight. Which was departing at 9:15 pm.

I wouldn't have had any issues with this, except they couldn't guarantee me that we'd get on this flight, nor did they even remotely make any accommodations for THEIR screw up. Such as give me meal vouchers for dinner or ask their manager to come over and pull a few strings. But as a seasoned flyer, a few terse words made with a smile through clenched teeth, and a 3 & 7 year old who completely melted down in a very busy terminal later, got us exactly what we needed.

Assigned seats on the next flight that was now delayed until 1 am.

I won't bore you with any more details of the insane 7 hours we managed to survive farting around the O'Hare airport ... I'll just show you that this is the time we pulled into our garage on Friday morning.

The rest of the weekend ... the LAST one before Matt departs on his year-long unaccompanied tour to Afghanistan ... was action packed. Appointments on Friday throughout the day. Dinner with friends on Friday night. Softball on Saturday. Laundry, packing, organizing and more Target runs for the pesky last minute items. Ending with an amazing evening that Matt enjoyed with the girls as he escorted them to the Girl Scouts Father / Daughter Dance at the their elementary school.

Which brings us to today. Sunday. What should be a day of rest. But there's no rest for the mother who is flying solo with three kids.

And though technically Matt leaves next Saturday afternoon for Afghanistan, he had to pack everything up before he departed this morning for his week-long training outside of Indianapolis. Because he's only flying through DC on a 16-hour layover. With just enough time to grab his stuff, do another few loads of laundry, and say his "real" goodbyes.

So wish us luck as we prepare for another hectic week. Endless doctor's appointments. Make-up homework and standardized testing at school. The painters finally getting to the kids rooms and the basement. I may even get around to filling you in on the many latest home improvement projects we've had going on here. Or finally comment publicly on Nipple-Gate, the craziest Foreign Service Blogging debacle I've EVER heard.

Until then ... stick a fork in me, because I am done!


Today ... He Is

His birthday will forever be overly documented ... as it took FAR too long for him to get here.

But here he is now. At age THREE. In all his cuteness and glory. Keeping us laughing with the funny things he says. Like ... "Can I have some vezert" (dessert) ... "Hug me brudda" (brother) ... and "Take it easy man."

Tonight we will celebrate with a little cake and a lot of balloons. And break bread with our dearest friends from our tour in India who are here in DC for a few days.

Happy Birthday Little Man. We love you!

Though we'd love you even more if you'd begin to consider potty training ... just sayin!


The FS BRU ... Crazy Is the New Normal

Anyone who knows me in real life, or who has read this blog more than a handful of times knows that my personal catch phrase is ... "There's never a dull moment here in the Perlman Household ... aka Casa de Chaos". I say it ALL. THE. TIME. In fact, when I looked back through my archives, I had to laugh when I realized that over 40 of my 650+ blog posts are completely focused around our family's chaos ... and more specifically, around moving, traveling with our kids, and life's little speed bumps.

I'm constantly running around, schlepping kids from here to yonder. Heading to Target or Wegmans or Costco several times each week. Someone is always melting down. There's a bottomless pit of laundry. I can't remember the last time we went on a road trip without someone barfing. And despite my best intentions, I leave WAY too many things until the last possible minute because I thrive under pressure.

At this point, I can't remember operating any differently. And frankly? I'm okay with it.

Since moving back to the States, our chaos compared to what we had overseas hasn't lessened. It's just changed. Instead of dealing with the idiosyncrasies of household staff, calculating the exchange rates on groceries and knick knacks, and packing up our UAB, HHE, and Consumables for yet another overseas location ... I'm maneuvering through community craziness, and over-committing. I'm learning my way around Northern Virginia's insane Routes and Highways. And I'm mentally preparing for Matt bidding on his next position - for the 4th year in a row!

In a nutshell, same sh*t, different country.

Of course, it helps to know that I'm not alone. And after reading all of the below submissions to this week's Blog Round-Up, you too will have the comfort of knowing that we're all nutty in this crazy lifestyle together.

Becky's at Small Bits's son embraces the chaos in his every day life.

Heather in Zimbabwe "Remembers When ..." Anyone with kids knows exactly what she remembers.

While this lifestyle brings a lot of chaos, Carla in Manila reminds us that it also provides creative ways to relax as well

Anyone who's gone through a pack out with the State Department knows that IS THE definition of chaos. Sara's pictures from Costa Rica to Manila proved this was no exception!

Sometimes even the most mundane things prove to be frenetic. Just read about Heather's attempt of riding the subway in Cairo.

Things you NEVER say to a woman ... "You're Overweight!" Let's just agree that Daniela in Delhi was less than pleased.

Getting kids ready for school in the morning is often like attempting to herd cats. Or in Erica in Iceland's case, monkeys.

Kate in Brasilia always keeps me in stitches ... figuratively speaking. Of course, her recent visit to the dermatologist had her literally in them. And her little dog too. Though, if I were her, I'd totally fire his fur-stylist. With his new 'do I think he'll be staying in doors for awhile.

April Showers is a phrase that just doesn't do this family justice. From EER time to school board commitments, a knee injury to Dengue Fever ... Life Is A Zoo In The Jungle have their hands full!

Stephanie in Hyderabad went for a run and encountered heat, traffic, and a naked man walking down the street. Oh the things you see in India!

Kolbi has to look at little tushies every time she leaves the house. And walk around droppings that one would think were left by animals ... though they'd be wrong!

Natasha is a brand spanking new FS Spouse and blogger. She and her husband are in a whirlwind few months of language training, changing careers, getting married, and now preparing to move overseas. Go wish her a hearty Mazal Tov!

Alexis's definition of chaos: moving to a new house in a new country where she had to speak a new language and start a new job all the while figuring out how to keep up with a new baby. Yup ... I'd say she's pretty darn accurate.

Nothing like a little butt-show at the doctor's office to have you realize you're not in Kansas anymore. Thankfully it wasn't HER butt ... though Emily in Romania did have fun at her latest OB appointment with a little condomania.

Lydia in Manama is going and feeling a little crazy and trying to jump back on the blogging bandwagon. Doesn't it always seem that the more time passes, the more things stay the same?

Babies are chaotic, right? A Postcard From just had her first one ... go checkout her little Birdie!

Jen is keeping her eye on the prize, all while preparing for her husband's departure way too soon!

Apparently all of us love Trader Joe's and flock there the minute we land back in country. However, THIS trip proved to be slightly more expensive than most for Jessica. Nothing like leaving the parking lot with groceries AND a fender bender.

Traveling with kids always provides chaos ... and good blog fodder. And leave it to Ana at Stumble Abroad in Indonesia to tell us how she averts as much of it as she can!

Donna just came on a whirlwind trip here to DC, and in less than four hours with a realtor, found a house. Of course, she may be eating ramen noodles for the next ten years if they accept her offer ...

Sadie in Saudi went on an amazing trip to the Parrotfish Festival ... and proved that men will do just about anything to get their picture taken!

Melissa in Jerusalem has 5 kids. Need I say more about her chaos?

Lisa in Tijuana's uterus spoke to the woman at Denny's. Does it speak to you too?

Crystal in Mali is currently on "Authorized Departure" in Michigan. If that isn't utter and complete chaos, I don't know what is!

With oodles of boys in her home, Shannon in Malawi always has great stories to tell. Of course they're always infinitely crazier when her husband out of town.

Anyone who has ever moved mid-tour knows exactly how Kelly in Vienna is feeling ...

We had a lot of great submissions this edition with many new-to-me bloggers. Thanks to all who sent in their links! The next FS BRU will be out on Friday, May 25th. With the optional talking point ... Honesty.

I want you to be honest with yourself and write something that has made you think. That has, dare I say it, almost scared you to have it published. Have you had a difficult time at post? Ever posted a recap of your tour? Want to talk about anything on your mind like ... cruddy neighbors? Medical issues? Unaccompanied tours? I've been reading a lot of wonderfully raw posts recently about people's true feelings of their assignments, their daily lives, things that make them tick. And it's refreshing. You get to really "know" someone when you "hear" them pour their heart out through their writing.

As always, never a need to write anything new ... unless you want to. Make sure to send me your links with a small blurb about it to thefsroundup@me.com by Monday, May 21st.

Until then ...


A Little Tile Goes A LONG Way

It only took me 8 months to decide on the tile for the kitchen backsplash.  And in the end, after visiting every tile store within a 25 mile vicinity, I finally made my selection.


Oh the irony ...  



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