Thursday, October 29, 2009

While Yanal is in Cyprus

Well this four day stretch is going faster than the last. Yanal will be home tomorrow morning!! We are hoping he gets to stay home for a while now, the kids and I really miss him. He misses us too.

Yesterday, I took the kids to the grocery store by myself! This is a big accomplishment because 1-I went shopping by myself, in Jordan, for the first time and 2-I took the kids shopping alone for the first time ever! I strapped Omar in the Bjorne and promised Aisha ice cream if she was good. They were the best little kids ever! You never know how they are going to behave while shopping, so I was so thankful that they were awesome!

We started a Sticker Chart for Aisha. She has such a terrible time with holding her poo and at times constipation. She hates to poop and for one reason or another we can't get her to go regularly. I am hoping that the Sticker Chart with a reward system will work!! ??? !!! So far she has gone 2 days in a row.....she hasn't done that in MONTHS!

Omar is mastering the use of his pincher grasp by eating table foods. His new found love is Cheerios. He also loves to eat cut up fruits, now if I could just get him to love the veggies!

Mommy had another emotional/mental breakdown. I decided that I need more sleep and time to myself. This whole move has been emotionally/mentally challenging and physically demanding. I have put a plan together to take better care of myself...I have never done this before and hope it helps. I'm sick of having meltdowns and feeling so emotionally out of control. For those that don't know me, I normally don't feel the need to cry-I just don't cry. I keep my cool through most situations, but this situation has been the largest thing I have ever undertaken. It was been very drawn out (7 months in the making) and neither of the kids sleep through the night and want their Mommy, so I obviously don't get much. My plan:

1- I will put the kids to bed earlier, so that I have time to myself at the end of the day.
2- I will go to bed earlier too, 1100pm.
3- I am not going to sleep next to Aisha any longer; she needs to learn how to sleep on her own and I need a good nights sleep.
4- I will also shower first thing in the morning instead of putting myself last and waiting all day to shower. I just feel better after I shower.
5- I will also ask Yanal to take the kids 1 or 2 days after work for an hour or two. I can get some things done for myself and around the house...maybe I'll even get my butt enrolled in a gym or something. Hopefully I can find a gym that is non-smoking. Seriously, I went to a gym and they were smoking in the 'dance' area.....that's Jordan for ya! LOL!

Wish me luck with my list of things to do for myself...hope I can stick to them all or most of them! Also, send me good thoughts on Aisha's Sticker Chart!

Lastly, I have not received many comments lately and I heard that some people are having trouble leaving their comments. Please drop a comment, just say HI or anything, so I know that the section is working! Thanks!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yanal's Home!...for a day and a half!

I'll make this one short, since my last post seemed to go on forever :-)

Yanal is home from Italy! He will stay with us for the next 36 hours and then he's off to Cypress for 4 days. Here is a link about the Jordan-Italy Business Forum he helped put together. His Majesty King Abdullah II gave a speech at the forum and the Jordan Times newspaper wrote an article about the King's speech He stood quite close to the King and Queen as they walked into the forum and not too far from the Queen during the forum...kinda cool huh! Here are some pictures and a link from Her Majesty Queen Rania's website and facebook site

So what did the rest of the family do while Yanal was working in Milan?

Well, this Momma has learned how to get herself around town. I dropped Yanal off and picked him up from the airport (an hour drive). I drove the kiddos to the park and to Dreamland (an amusement park for young kids at the mall). I also drove to and from my in laws home. Not too bad for my first 4 days alone. I feel very refreshed that I am getting around town on my own. I even put in and turned up the Fleetwood Mac and jammed a bit as I drove thru Amman :-) It feels good to have some of my Independence restored!!

Omar was busy pulling himself up and standing on top of everything! He was also busy getting two new teeth. He now has 6 teeth, 2 on the bottom and 4 on top...very cute!

Aisha is sleeping in underwear thru the more diapers for my little lady! However, she did have one day that she thought it was fun to pull her pants down and pee on her toys and other things. She peed on her ball...two different times...and she peed on her beloved Curious George toy. She also thought it was funny when she peed on the couch. Then she thought she was being helpful when she peed on the coffee table and was "Cleaning Mom, with pee!" as she wiped the pee on top of the coffee table!! What possess a 2 year old to do the things they do?!

Anyways, we are happy that Yanal/Daddy is back and we will miss him while he is gone over the next few days.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mothering and Nursing...comparisions.

I was thinking the other day about being a stay at home Mom. I was so frustrated because it seemed that I had been running in circles all day. I had prepared 3 meals for the kids, none of which they particularly like, and I hadn't eaten anything all day. I felt as though I had been cleaning and picking up all day, but if you actually looked around my house, you would think it was dirty and messy. I started thinking that I had better change my attitude before it changes me.

I decided to remind myself that this is my job. My job is currently to be a stay at home Mommy and to raise my kids. Sure, I will work outside the home again at some point, but this is what I wanted. I want to stay at home right now. I feel as though this is the most important job in the world and even if I loose my cool once in a while or I feel as though I just run in circles all day, that no one can raise my kids better than me and my husband.

So here I am, frustrated with my own decisions and needing an attitude adjustment. I started to compare my current job, mothering, with my career, nursing. For those that don't know, I am a Registered Nurse. I love being a nurse and I love being a Mommy. Here are some comparisons that I came up with.

6. Some days, who am I kidding, most days as a nurse and as a mother I do not get a lunch break. The morning starts out great and BAM, all hell breaks loose and there is no time for me to sit down to actually eat a solid meal. Most days, I just nibble as I run from task to task.

5. Running from task to task. I have a plan in my mind of what needs to be done today. I start in that direction and then a fire needs to be put out in this direction and then another in that direction. So all day I try to accomplish my list of things that need to be done around the house and with the kids (laundry, cleaning, bills, breakfast, lunch and dinner) and other things take place such as climbing on tables, falling off tables, arguing between brother and sister, spills and messes being made everywhere, kids throwing up, potty trained little girls peeing on her toys all day, and the list goes on. Just as in nursing, start heading to do assessments and pass am meds and then a patient falls on the floor, as another one is calling because of chest pain, and a doctor wants to talk at the desk and the phone is ringing..all in the same minute.

4. Once in a while, we have a great day. A day where there are no fires to distract and everything goes to my morning plan. These days we cherish. These days, as a RN, we find to chit-chat with our co-workers and our patients. These are the days that we remember why we love to be a nurse. When things go smoothly at home, I wonder to myself, what was I so upset about yesterday?! I can do this, it's easy, I love it! I find the time to chit-chat and play with my kids. We read books, color, blow bubbles, go to the park, whatever we desire. It's days like these that remind me why I love being a mother.

3. Some weeks are emotionally, physically and spiritually demanding and exhausting. Running continuously on empty, giving and giving and giving and not feeling that you are getting as much in return is exhausting. Being so exhausted that you want to scream and can't because it's not nice to yell at your kids or at your patients (even if they may deserve it). Being so exhausted that you do yell at them, even though you know better. Knowing that you could do better. Self talk can make or break you in weeks like these. Wishing you could just sleep, but the kids keep you up throughout the night; or, you just got mandated to stay for what was an 8 hour shift and is now a 16 hour shift, again!

2. Not being recognised for the things you do all day. The patient and their family see you only briefly a few times a day. To their perspective you only come in to deliver their meds and teach them a little about their illness. What they don't see is that you have been busy looking up their labs, watching for test results, calling MDs with any and all results that are abnormal, speaking with MDs, PT, OT, ST, RT, PCAs, HUCs, pharmacy, RN management, case managers, spiritual care, dietary, transport by phone or in person about you and all your other patients. You have been in and out of isolation numerous times, stuck in a room doing a 1/2-1 hour dressing change, looking through new orders, verifying old orders, calling MDs on questionable orders, helping out with bedside procedures, spending 2, 3, 4 hours with a patient who is heading south and then transport them to ICU, get an admission and spend an hour with a lengthy database and/or medication list, calling pharmacy, discharging a patient and then another admission or transfer.......and then entering your room calmly and with a smile. As a mother, my husband comes home from work and the house looks picked up for the most part, dinner is just about ready, clothes are in the laundry, kids as clean. He has no idea how chaotic and unorganised our day has been or felt to get to this point! I like him to come home to a nice home, where he can relax. I like everything to be done by the time he gets home so we can have fun as a family. Just as I like for my patients to feel relaxed and unanxious about being in the hospital.

1. Making time. Making time to sit and really listen to a patient. Making time to hold my patients hand. Making time to enjoy giving a bed bath. Making time to really explain the discharge medication list so that the elderly patient understands their home medications that have changed. Making the time to explain the illness and how to help the patient understand how to help themselves. This is what I love about nursing. Making the time to do these things is why I became a nurse, to help others. This is where I change my thinking at home. This week, I am learning how to make the time at home. Making time to take the kids to the park. Making time to play with them. Making time to laugh with them. To tickle them, giggle with them, enjoy their innocence. Making the time to play hide and seek or to just sit near them and watch them together. It is so easy for me to keep going with my list of things I need to do that I need to stop and make the time for them. To not just play with them when I catch up with my list or when Daddy gets home, but to make the time for them during the day as well. They need it as much as I do. This is why I became a Mother and this is why I love being a stay at home Mommy. I love to play with my kids, watch them and learn from them. I am making the time and it's we all needed!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pre-Yanal's trip to Italy and Cypress

Yanal will be in Italy for the next 4 days. He will be home for 1 day and then traveling to Cypress for another 4 days. I will be at home, in Jordan, alone, with the kids, for the first time. Yanal and I have never been apart for this long in our 10+ years of marriage. He has never been away, overnight, since we've had our kids. My Mom had a good idea to blog about pre-Yanal leaving, the interim and post-Yanal's trips. So here it goes:

How is Yanal feeling about being gone for so long?

Well, he's not feeling too good about it all. It's for work, so there's no choice in the matter. When he took this job, we knew that it was going to happen, international business trips on occasion. We still don't know how often they will happen, but here is the first and the second trip back to back. He is really upset to say the least about leaving our kids. Especially Aisha, he has a special place in his heart for our little girl. He loves her like no other father loves his little girl (well, except how my Dad loves me and my sisters)! And Omar, well, Yanal is already feeling like he is missing out on so much while he is working all day, everyday. Yanal was pretty much a Stay-at-Home Dad and a full time grad-student before he got this job. So he is use to watching the kids grow and develop. He knew more about Aisha as a baby than I did: I think that's why she is so close to him. Today, Yanal looked over at Omar standing up on the coffee table, reaching for something out of reach and it almost brought him to tears. We both wondered where this little man came from!

As far as how Yanal feels about leaving me for so long, well, I think he is starting to feel more comfortable about it. We got all the groceries bought, car full of gas, phone numbers I may need and reminders of how to get to the stores I may need to get to. He also let the guard know the situation and I can depend on him if anything is needing to be fixed in the apartment or any security issues. Yanal trusts me and knows that things will be okay, it's just hard the first time around and for such a long time.

How am I feeling about Yanal being gone?

If you would have asked me a few days ago, I would have told you that I am anxious about it. I was questioning to myself: Do I know how to drive to the grocery store? Do I know how to drive to my in-laws? Do I know how to drive safely around Amman? Do I know what number to dial in an emergency? Can I think of any safety issues? What do the kids need, formula, food, diapers, wipes, etc? Do I have everything I need? What if the kids drive me crazy?! The list keeps on going. At first I felt that it would be best to have Yanal's sister stay with me the whole time, then I thought maybe I should just have one of the maids stay with me and help, then we decided that one of the maids will come over for a day to help clean and if I am totally in need of a break from the kids, she can stay the night with me.

At this time, I am feeling pretty good about him being gone for so long. I'm not saying that I am happy about it or not slightly nervous about it, because I am still somewhat nervous and I don't love the idea of him being gone. But, I trust myself. I am a grown woman who has taken care of herself for years. I take care of the kids everyday, nothing new there other than the days will be longer. Even though the driving is a bit crazy here, I know how to drive and I know how to get to places on my own. I don't know the language very well, well I'll just call Zeina if I really need a translator otherwise I'll just wing it! I am feeling that this will be a good experience for me. It will force me to be more independent and not rely so much on Yanal doing everything for me. Poor guy, since we have been here he has been taking care of everything! This will empower me to drive to the store and around the block by's such a weird concept that this idea makes me nervous. I guess I just don't want to get lost, I have 2 little ones depending on me! It will also force me to interact with people outside his family on my own, hopefully it will strengthen my Arabic!

I will miss my husband greatly, his help around the house and his friendship. However, this experience will force me to be more independent which I have always been before.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yanal's Work

As requested by a few people who are interested in what Yanal does for are the answers to your questions.......

As you know, we moved here because Yanal found a job related to his education here in Jordan. He had been searching for a job back in the US since he graduated with his Bachelor's Degree in Economics May of 2007. Since he was unable to find a job at that time, he continued his education as he looked for a job. Well 2 years past by, no job was found and he obtained his Master's in Economics. We thought for sure he would be able to land a solid position now that he had his Master's, no, the economy took a dive as everyone knows and there was not many company's hiring. However, we continued to apply. We applied in every state in the US, in England and other European countries, Bahrain where his brother works and other gulf jobs to be found. I kept saying "It's okay, that job was no meant to be or you would have been offered that job". When I was on maternity leave with our second child, we visited my in-laws in Jordan. We went just to show off the kids and visit the family. As Yanal was venting his frustrations about finding a job and what to do next, his family told him to try applying in Jordan. Okay, we'll throw a few more resumes and applications in the pool of this time we were starting to make a joke of it all, not finding a job. Well needless to say, he interviewed and pretty much got the job just before our trip ended. When we arrived back to the USA, they negotiated the details and told him to come ASAP. I had so many emotions. I was happy for him, sad for me; angry with not finding a job in the US, jealous that he found a job in Jordan; didn't know what was best to keeping looking for work in the US or take the opportunity that arose in Jordan....I just kept reminding myself of the words I told him for years, "If it was the right job, you would have be offered that job". Then I tried to be strong as we packed our things. This must be the right job, because it's the job that was offered to him.

Yanal works at Jordan Investment Board in the Promotions department. His title is Investment Promotion Specialist/Research. He collaborates with other countries to get them to invest in Jordan. Since he started a few months ago and currently, he has been working on putting together a forum between Jordanian businessmen and Italian Investors and businessmen. This week he will be traveling to Milan, Italy for the Forum. His Majesty King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, the Jordanian King and Queen, will be at the Jordan-Italy Business Forum promoting Jordan.

Another possible trip he has scheduled is in Cypress hosted by ANIMA Investment Network, where he will be giving a presentation.

Yanal is also responsible for all the world organizations including but not limited to OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), ANIMA Investment Network, and WAIPA (World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies). He also studies different business sectors in Jordan such as energy, agriculture, ICT, tourism, etc. Yanal analyzes foreign direct investments (FDI) to Jordan and the region. From these analysis, they decide what countries to target. He is also involved in other areas of the company (outside the promotion department) such as evaluating and choosing consultant services for CRM (Customer Service Relation Management), Investment Map for the southern governance of Jordan and other special projects. He is still learning lots and getting involved in new areas as he has only been working there for almost 3 months.

He works Sunday thru Thursday (the typical work week) from 800am-400pm. PTO-he gets 9 religious holidays in addition to the national holidays, 7 sick days and 30 vacation days per year and the vacation days roll over to the next year if unused the previous year. He is paid salary once a month for 14 months a year (2 additional months). He gets health insurance for the family, which is 0.5% of his pay per each person (2% of his pay for our family). He also has a retirement plan which includes a match by the company.

We thank God for this opportunity for Yanal to work at JIB. He is getting solid experience at this job in relation to his degree and he is also increasing his learning curve. Somedays are still a challenge to get use to living in another country, but the comforts of home are getting better and better. For instance, for the first time since we got our satelite tv hooked up in our own apartment, we will get to watch Brett Favre and the Vikings kicks some Baltimore bootie tomorrow! Go Vikes!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In This Moment of Time

My sister Laura requested for me to write about the funny, cute, annoying and absolutely lovable things my kids are doing in this moment of time. Since time moves so quickly, she wanted me to capture these moments in writing and to share with her and the family.

She is potty training at the moment. When she has to go potty, she takes off her clothes, runs over to the little girls chair, sits and says "Here's it comes!", followed by the sounds of her tinkling. Then she stands up and yells, "See it! See it! Come look Momma!" she points in the potty chair and then we dance around the room clapping our hands, laughing and dancing together!
I love the way he scoots himself around. It's his way of the army men...pulls himself with his arms and kicks with his legs, but he doesn't get is tummy off the floor. He scoots from one end of the room to the other very quickly, which is funny in itself, then he grabs one of his sisters toys before she gets a chance to take it away from him! He looks so proud of himself, like "Oh Yeah I Got It!" and he smiles big! Too funny!

When Omar wakes up and starts making noise in his crib, Aisha stops whatever she is doing and says, "Booboo's awake!", "Hear him?!" then she runs to his room and starts talking to him in baby language. She is so excited that he's awake and ready to play!
His smile. He just melts my heart when he smiles. I also love when he calls me "Momma". He calls for me when he needs something, "Momma! Mommaaaaa!" Too cute!

She jumps from one topic to the next so fast that I can't keep up with her requests/demands. She gets so frustrated with me that she screams or cries and then slaps me on the leg. She cries all the time. I can't tell if she is seriously hurting or if she is just crying to get her way. She also says "No" to everything!
He flips and flips and flips as I am trying to change his diaper! I can't keep him still for even a few seconds. Then he gets mad that it's taking so long and he screams adn flips some more. It makes me want to scream too!

Absolutely Lovable
I will be in the kitchen cooking or cleaning in the other room and she will come up to me without saying a word and give my leg the biggest hug! She just hangs on hugging my leg, rubbing my leg and then says "I love you Momma". Absolutely lovable!
He is starting to kiss me! When I am holding him close to my face, he grabs my face and presses his mouth against my cheek. His mouth is wide open and full of spit. His kisses are big and sloppy!! Love it!

Aisha is 2.5 years and Omar is just 8 months old. I don't know which age is more fun, more cute and at times more challenging. Either way, I love them both the same!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Favorite Pictures our first 2 months in Jordan







Hey! She has the same shoes!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Looking for Suggestions...

Okay, so I have been 'bloggin' for a few months now and I'm wondering how it's going from your perspective(s). Positive and negative comments welcome! Please tell me what you like and what you want more of. Also, tell me what you don't really like and what you'd like to see less of. Let me know if you have questions that you would like me to write about or if you have a topic you are interested in me writing about. Sometimes I worry that I might be boring you or telling stories that you are not interested in. Thanks for the feed back! I miss you all and hope you are all doing great!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stop Nursing My Baby...

Today I came to the realization that it's time to stop nursing my little guy. I am so sad about this. He is almost 8 months old; I wanted to nurse him a year like his sister. I feel that he is growing up too fast...don't they all.

I have been fighting almost since his birth to keep up with his appetite. I remember the nurse watching him suckle his first day of life and she gave me a look of pain and called him a Barracuda!

At 3.5 months, I had to start supplementing my milk with formula. I am an experienced breastfeeding mother and I know that you are never suppose to supplement a nursing baby. I knew that this would never help increase my milk supply, but I had to do something quickly to help keep his tummy satisfied.

At 4 months, I started to feed him solids again too early for me, I wanted to wait until 6 months. I was hoping this would curb his hunger and keep him satisfied longer....nope, he only wanted more!

I have used Helbay (sp?), an amazing natural herb/seed that can be drank as tea or put in dessert that is approved by the FDA to increase milk supply by up to 600 percent! It is truly amazing. After the first 24 hours, my milk supply increased by 50 percent and after 48 hours my milk had doubled! (I know this because I was pumping regularly to also help increase my supply , so I knew how much I was producing). I have used this Helbay many times, the most recent was last month. It really works, but I am too far from his appetite now.

This past month he has been teething and experimenting what his new teeth can do to his mother....OUCH! At first, this is what I thought it was. Again, being experienced with this I tried to teach him not to bite, as I did his sister. I continued this train of thought for 3 weeks, until today. Today, I realized that he is not biting for fun or attention or as a teether. I realized that he is biting because he is mad that there is no milk! I also figured it to be true because he has been refusing my offers of milk all during the daylight hours this week and taking nicely to the bottle instead.

I figured it out finally (although I'm sure I secretly and deep down knew) because after feeding and getting bit this am I decided to give him a bottle of formula. Yep, as suspected, he drank an additional 6 ounces.......obviously, Mommy cannot magically produce another 6 ounces for you baby's time to stop nursing, game over, you you should.

Today, all day he has been taking formula bottles and loving it. He doesn't miss me as I miss him, and that's okay. I am glad that he has the appetite that he does and that he is getting what he needs. I just wish I could have supplied him with more, but again, that's okay....but I am just a little bit sad about it. You are growing too fast......