It’s Been a While

It’s been 5 months since my last post.  In 8 years of blogging, I’ve never gone more than a few weeks, so 5 months feels like a lifetime.  I’ve been wanting to write and yet, I haven’t. I’ve hit a phase here where now that we’ve bought a house here in the Netherlands, I’m feeling rather content.  My blogging was a way to deal with frustrations, celebrate victories and more than anything, to have a record of this adventure for the kids when they got older.  But things change and so have I.

I’ve gone back and forth on how to move forward with this blog.  I’m still feeling ambivalent about a public forum that involves my kids.  That’s always been there in the background but escalated as I mentioned in my last post and has most definitely been a part of my hesitation to write again.  Have I outgrown the blog?  No, not completely.  But I’m also overwhelmed at the catching up to do.  I have 63 posts started but unfinished.  I just haven’t been in the frame of mind to start back up and it feels overwhelming at times.  And we’ve been busy, oh so busy!  So I guess the best way is to just give a summary of the last 5 months and then start back fresh.

I started an internship in January that was supposed to last 6 months.  Unfortunately, the timing could not have been worse on my end and I’m embarrassed to say that it didn’t work out as planned.  It’s most definitely on my end – there just wasn’t enough time in the day to handle the kids’ schedules, a move, new puppy and a new job.  There is no doubt I’ll work again, but it definitely gave me perspective on what I want and don’t want in my future career.  It was a learning experience and to me, there is never a wasted time so long as you learn from it.  I only wish I could have given it the 100% it deserved.

Part of the stress with the internship was, as you know, we somewhat spontaneously decided to buy a house here in the Netherlands.  Given what a rocky start we had here 3 years ago, no one was more surprised by this turn of events than I was!  There was a lot to do with the house and it was a work in progress for months.  And while we are still working on some finishing touches (we had a legal battle with the kitchen company that only ended THIS week), we are in the home stretch!!

We love, love, love our house.  It’s funny how anywhere can be a home – it’s truly where your heart is.  But there is something to be said when it’s your own and you can not only make memories there but to truly make it your own in every way.  We’ve had a lot of fun making this house a home, but we’ve also realized that it’s not cheap!

Hence, we haven’t done as much travel as we normal do this year.  We’ve put a pause button on the travel as we try to get the renovations here complete.  We did manage to make a trip to London in April as well as to Berlin.  There will be more on those in a later post with some details.  And of course, we went home this summer as well.  As always, a whirlwind of activity and never enough time.

We had a lot of visitors this spring in addition to the little bit of travel.  So it was 6 chaotic weeks of family, friends, travel and general life stuff.  I loved having our friends visit and there will be more later on that.  But as much as I loved our friends here, it was having our family finally come to see us that made my year.  Both my parents and Josh’s parents made the trip during those 6 crazy weeks and got to experience a bit of life in the Netherlands (a little too much as far as my dad is concerned, but that’s a whole other story!!!).

I’d like to say things settled down after our visitors, but it didn’t.  We’ve also been incredibly busy with sports.  I feel like we are always busy with sports. With 2 boys in the house, it should be no surprise.  Last year we had some type of activity 6-7 days per week.  This year has, since the spring, been 7 days per week.  There is a reprieve in sight with a few weeks off between seasons (yes, baseball is a year long sport here).  Aidan has been playing baseball between 4-6 days per week and Liam 3 days per week (along with his 2 other sports).  We are at the field so much that I ended up being a coach on Aidan’s team (you can stop laughing now!) and it looks like Josh and I are going to be joining the board of the club.  You know, because we don’t have enough going on!

And speaking of enough going on, Josh has had a lot happening with work.  Earlier this year, the parent company where Josh has worked for 16+ years decided to sell the subsidiary where he is currently working.  It’s been a bit of a roller coaster with the wait and see on what was going to happen and just a bit stressful, especially given we had just bought a house and didn’t know what the outcome would be.  However, I’m thrilled to say that Josh is very happy about the buyer of the company and it has given us the security of knowing we will be here for at least several more years.  This also leads to that feeling of contentment now that we feel we can settle down for a bit and not worry about what’s happening at the end of each school year.  Josh found out what the future held right before we headed home for vacation this summer.

We were happy to get back from the US to our home here and our puppy in August and really enjoyed spending the last few weeks of the summer holiday here in Almere. Living on the water means you feel like you are on vacation, even when you aren’t. Aidan had friends over quite a bit to swim and now that he’s old enough to be off on his own, he and his friends would venture all over the city a well.  We started biking to school towards the end of the year and it made a big difference for all of us both physically and mentally and I think it helped even more with Aidan’s independence.

On the topic of school, the kids are settled back into school.  Both had birthdays back in May (yes, I didn’t post about those either, bad mom!).  Aidan’s now 13 and in 8th grade (MYP3 in his IB program) and Liam is 10 in 5th grade (group 7 / year 6).  Most of the time I forget how long we’ve been away from the US, but whenever their birthdays hit, it always reminds me.  Aidan has now been gone just about 2/3 of his life.  Liam has been gone 4/5 of his.  They are truly Third Culture Kids in every way.  I love that we’ve been able to give them this crazy, unique life.

If I’m going to mention kid birthdays, I should also include the furry kid.  Scout is edging up on her 1st birthday in a few weeks.  I’d forgotten what joy a dog can bring to a home. She is the love of our lives and not a day goes by where she doesn’t put a smile on our faces.  I can’t get over how quickly her first year went by and am looking forward to lots of adventures with her in the future as well.

That has been the last several months in a nutshell.  I’ll go back and elaborate on some in some new blog entries, but more or less, we’ve just been busy and I fell behind. Hopefully now that I’m back on the wagon, I’ll be back to publishing more.  But more than anything, thanks for waiting patiently for me to get back into the swing of things!

Knuffels en kussen,

Julie

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