Around The World In A Few Days

I forget that I've been a little hit and miss with the details over the past few...months, so I thought I'd put a little post up about our move.

My husband is a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State and we are going to Kiev, Ukraine for a two year post. 

We are (mostly) excited because we both served missions in Ukraine about ten years ago. David's Russian skills are excellent, mine are rusty at best, and going around the world with three small children in tow has altered the way I look at adventure. Suddenly it does matter if I can get potable milk. You know what I mean?

Kiev is definitely ahead of other cities in Ukraine, it always has been, and besides, it's been ten years since I was there. It's just that sometimes when I stop and think about things that I thought nothing of when I was there as a missionary...wow.  I have hope that some things have changed and the same kind of hope that some things haven't. 

We pack out of our house on Tuesday and fly out of the country in a couple weeks. In the meantime, we are going to spend some time being tourists in our own country - visiting our favorite places in and around D.C. as well as taking a little road trip to the Big Apple and a stop in Baltimore. 

My life over the next few weeks is going to be chock full of blog material, I'm know. I'm just not sure what my computer access is going to be. We're still working that out. 

Once we land in Kiev and get a little bit settled and/or I need to vent, I totally plan on blogging regularly. Catch me when you can!


Meanwhile, Back at the Farm...

My weekend in Iowa was wonderful. Seriously. My friend Nobody hooked me up with a massage (my first ever), I got my back adjusted (even though I get a little freaked about chiropracty), I got to hang out stress-free with adorable children (and was even dubbed a certain little red haired girl's "favewit gwown-up.")

Most importantly, I stuck my head in the sand for four whole days. The airport layovers and plane rides were quiet and calm. Who knew it could be like that?

Meanwhile, my husband was home with our boys. Only he didn't stay home with them. He took them to Calvert Cliffs to try their hand at finding megalodon fossils (no luck, but the hiking with shovels in hand was enough for the boys), and took them another day to the natural history museum to see just what a megalodon looked like. He also took them into the bank. And to his office. And they behaved wonderfully. And said "Thank you" to him for "taking him fun places."

In between these outings, he ran laundry through, sorted out all of his stuff that I wouldn't know what to do with as regards our move, arranged for the tires to be changed on our car, and fed, clothed, bathed and tucked the boys in at a reasonable time each night. All with zero reminder from me. (Except I did tell him to remember sunscreen before I left town.) And he didn't seem frazzled or run down at all when I got back.

Yeah, I pretty much won the husband lottery. But I'm still amazed. And surprised at how smoothly everything seems to go for him. I mean, he's not a professional parent, like I am, you know.

I returned Tuesday night, and we have pretty much been racing around ever since. All day Wednesday and yesterday we were getting suits for David, running errands, buying out Co$tco, and checking off to-do and to-buy lists. The boys came along for all of it and behaved amazingly well. Mostly without bribes.

At the end of yesterday, though, after Co$tco, we had to do Walmert and since they are in the same area (20 minutes away from our house), we decided that we should do it now instead of making another trip. But the boys were done.

One-tiny-bit-away-from-meltdown done.

So we devised this plan that they would drop me off at Walmert since I can get what we need in about half the time by myself and he could take them to a park for an hour while I do it.

Then it started to rain. So he dropped me off anyway and went to the fast food establishment with a play area that shares a parking lot with Walmert, bought some chicken for Charlie and let the boys play.

Then both boys needed to use the toilet. At the same time. And it was a one-stall restroom. And David had just gotten Charlie situated with his food at the table. So he picked up Charlie and went to referee the toilet brawl (and help them wash up), then came back to get some food in the baby.

In the play area, David sat Charlie down to play in the under-three area and turned to help Henry with something and when he looked around to check on Charlie, he was gone. A big kid in the play area had helped the baby climb all the way up the tubes in the big kids playground.

David sent Calvin up to head Charlie toward the slide, but Charlie wouldn't budge from where he was, precariously situated and in other kids' way. So David had to climb up.

Code Yellow Dad is not a small guy, people. He nearly got stuck. And Charlie didn't want to come with him, either. Finally, when David wiggled his way back down, with squirming child in arms, he came out of the climbing apparatus a little worse for the wear and a mom sitting there on her phone the whole time was laughing at him. He said something like, "That was a YouTube moment." And she laughed even harder.

Charlie set about wandering again, this time with David right behind him. Just as Charlie was about to pick up something off the ground that was questionable, David picked it up first to prevent the child tasting everything he picks up, only to discover that it was not old food or dirt like he had supposed. It was a surprise, ahem, from someone else's child's, er, diaper.

So he threw it away and took ample advantage of the Purell wipes and sanitizer pump that the restaurant so wisely supplied to the play area. Several wipes and several pumps later, he felt clean enough to pick up the baby and escort the boys out to the car so they could come pick me up.

And me? I enjoyed a pretty quick spin through Walmert and found almost everything on my list. Without interruption. Who knew it could be like that?

I do have to admit that when he was telling me all about his adventures, I thought, "Now that's more like it." He's one step closer to certified professional parent.


So, I'll be spending the next couple of days touching every. single. thing. in my house. And making a decision about it: Do I need it now? Do I not need it now, but need it right away when we get there? Can we wait for it to come on the slow boat? Can it just be stored for two years? Do I even want to see it again in two years?

My head can't grapple with it and I don't know what my problem is. It's not rocket science, and it's not the end of the world if we get there with or without stuff. Everything will work itself out. But that doesn't stop me from being a basket case.

The piles have begun and the boys have begun their un-sorting efforts. I'm contemplating just leaving all of it for the day of the move, and being the woman all movers hate.

I'm also vacillating in a big way between my minimalist tendencies (How much do we really need, anyway, I mean truly...?) and my sentimental leanings (Oh! We can't possibly leave that behind! It wouldn't be home without it!). So I'm pretty sure we'll get there with one shirt and one pair of underwear for each family member. And a lot of tchotchkes for making our post-Soviet apartment feel like home.

Wish me luck.


What to Do With Myself

So...we are in moving-overseas-limbo right now. Lots of waiting for other people and bureaucracies to do what they need to so that we can do the stuff that we need to. And we fly out in less than a month. I'm a bit of a bundle of nerves, but David said that one of his friends who's done this before told him yesterday, "If you don't have at least one moment in the last few weeks before you move when you think you are making a grave mistake, you aren't thinking about it enough."

So at least I know I'm thinking about it enough.

Anyway, since we are just waiting...I'm going to see Nobody. And I'm taking nobody with me. Not even Charlie, I decided, even though he is a fabulously cute accessory and I am prodigiously proud of him and will miss him like crazy. I just need a moment to myself.

This is only the second kid-free weekend I've ever experienced in all my parenthood. Kid-free hours or days don't even happen very often. It's going to be weird. And fun. And hilarious. And restful. And just what I need.

And then the insanity of final sorting, organizing, shopping and quasi-packing begins. Because we are out of our house in twelve days. And out of the country in less than a month.

Not to mention that my boy starts kindergarten once we are there and I'm going to have to start speaking Russian in my daily life and adjust to lots of different things while trying to ease the transition and keep it all together for three little kids.

Iowa seems like a very good place to put my head in the sand for a weekend.


Beach Pics

I'm sorting stuff and organizing myself, so all I'm offering are my favorite pics from last week...

Sometime soon, I'll post video action of our Beach Week adventures...



So...I am now taking a vacation from the vacation.

The ocean was beautiful, the boys had a great time. But I am beat.

Long story short, David - at the very last minute - wasn't able to be there for the week. It wasn't his fault, and disappointment or frustration don't even begin to cover it. (I don't want to talk about it. But I will post some pictures from the beach as soon as I can.)

David did clean my house from top to bottom while we were gone. And I did most of the beach laundry at the beach house, so there isn't a lot of the post-vacation mess to clean up right away. There's a silver lining.

Except it took eleven hours for a six hour drive yesterday and all our stuff is still in the car. Ah, well.

And now...? We have three weeks until our pack out day. Three weeks. OK, actually it's twenty-three days. Hmmmm. Looks like the vacation from the vacation will be a short one, because I've got to get going!

I'll be back in the next day or two with a juicy, all-the-stuff-you-didn't-care-to-know-about-our-move-to-Kyiv post, plus my decision on the "to be or not to be Code Yellow" question. I know, I know, you're on the edge of your seat.


I've Got Beach Week, You've Got a Mission

See my beach ticker? Yep. Tomorrow! we are on! our! way! David wrote a note to me in church last week that said, "Do you think we can leave for the beach by 8 a.m. on Saturday?" I started laughing and leaned over to whisper, "I was hoping to be gone by six!" Yeah, I'm a little excited.

But...between now and then, I have serious laundry to do, a houseguest to get moved out, a house to clean from top to bottom because my landlords are going to be in and out with appraisers, etc. while we're gone, plus some minor shopping, and the family packing.

I had hoped to also get a few pre-posts formulated before we go so the blog isn't blank all next week, but I think that will not happen. Besides the fact that most of my readers will be at the beach with me, taking in the whole Code Yellow experience in real time. Heh, heh, heh.

So, no promises.

But... speaking of "Code Yellow" - you might already be aware that I've been thinking of getting myself a new blog name / flavor for some time now. I even tried it once briefly, but it didn't "take." I don't know why I'm restless like that...I just kinda want something a little more broad, maybe, a little more chic or something? A different color? A little less panic-stricken? But I keep coming up empty. I roll ideas around in my head, scribble some things on paper, then I get bored with it and just decide to stay Code Yellow Mom. I am a tiny bit sentimental about the dirty Tonka truck, too. But it's time.

Here's where you come in: I want ideas for a new blog me. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with a new and improved blog name and persona for Code Yellow Mom. Comment on this post as many times as you want this week and leave all the ideas you can come up with. If you want to, include a "tag line" to go with the name, or send other people over to make suggestions, too. If you prefer to keep your submission private, email it to me: codeyellowmom[at]gmail[dot]com. Either way, submit your ideas by midnight on August 9th. If I get some real gems and need more help deciding, then I'll make a comprehensive list and we'll put it to a vote in some manner and make a final decision.

Two guidelines:

1. I'd like my new blog name to be three words or less.
2. For those of you who are privy to my last name in real life, I don't want it to be included in my blog name.

Most important note: The winning idea gets to see their idea in action every time they come to my blog PLUS a prize!! (I'll consider what the prize will be while I'm at the beach. And since I will be in such a state of beauty and relaxation the whole week, the prize will be a good one. That, I can promise.)

OK...ready... set... GO!