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weekend in LA

It’s not that the grass is always greener; yet, much as we love our Foreign Service lifestyle, there are certain things we miss about not being in the States. Topping the list is being far away from friends and family. In addition to rarely seeing the people we most love, we also miss many of their special occasions. Each year we spend abroad, our refrigerator fills up with birth announcements and invitations for missed weddings. This summer, one of S’s closest friends was getting married, and though it meant flying halfway around the world, much of it alone with Munchkin, S decided this was one wedding she shouldn’t miss.

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five and counting

Sometime, hopefully in the not too distant future, S plans to write about her 3-week-long trip back to the United States. Dealing with a jet-lagged baby and trying to get over jet lag herself has stymied somewhat her motivation to write. In the meantime, we celebrated Munchkin’s fifth month today and thought we’d mark the occasion by sharing some pictures. We get the sense that many of our most loyal followers are pretty much only interested in Munchkin updates anyway.

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the words that matter

Long before he began to vocalize — in fact, long before he was born — we decided to consign Munchkin to linguistic confusion in his early years. 

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what were they thinking?

A few years ago we posted a round-up of our favorite bizarre search terms that had led people to click on our blog, and we thought it would be fun to revisit the theme. Our blog has been around long enough now that we can only view the top hits while thousands of search terms are omitted, meaning that likely we are missing some real gems. Even so, here are a few terms that caught our eye or gave us a chuckle.

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summertime

For those serving abroad, the passing of our nation’s Independence Day usually comes with a mixture of jubilation and relief. On the one hand, nothing says summer like a 4th of July BBQ. On the other hand, as the holiday approaches embassies become frantic with preparation for hosting what is easily the biggest representational event of the year.

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you can’t always get what you want

Long before S was pregnant, she envisioned herself as a breastfeeding mom. She imagined cherishing the snuggly, cozy time with Munchkin and being able to soothe him when he was upset. She even foresaw herself becoming enthusiastic about breastfeeding and doing it longer than most. The idea that it might not be possible – or possible for a full year exclusively – never entered her mind. 

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almost famous

At times we struggle with the identity of our blog. Many posts are born of a desire to include our faraway friends and families in our lives, while others are the result of pent-up creative energy in search of an outlet. Even those posts, however, do not aspire to greatness or widespread recognition. We are happy if people derive enjoyment from the photographs and stories we share, but we don’t really think of what we post as “art,” so it is flatteringly disorienting when other people view it as such.

child in the Maasai manyatta

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birds of a feather

On one of our safaris in Kenya, we visited a tribe of Maasai. These warriors live in mud-and-stick dwellings under the open skies of the African plains. When the youths complete their rites of passage, they marry and leave their parental homestead to start a new settlement. This tradition produces a curious cyclical effect: because the young tribesmen all embark upon married life around the same time, their kids also tend to be born one right after another. Our globetrotting lifestyle could not be much further removed from the lives of the Maasai, but even though we are far away from many of our friends, in a way we too feel like we belong to a tribe. Like tends to attract like, and now that we have started filling our social media posts with baby updates and photos, we have also become keenly aware of just how many friends we have who are going through the same stages of parenthood at roughly the same time as us. 

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summer days

It takes a long, bleak winter to help one fully appreciate just how wonderful an Eastern European summer is, especially when living in one of the continent’s most verdant capitals.

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biting the bullet

Having done her research, S developed a plan to transition Munchkin out of our room and into his big boy crib. First, we would install blackout blinds, crank up the sleep sheep, and move the rock-n-play to the nursery. Then, once Munchkin got used to his new surroundings, we would put him to sleep in the crib. Finally, after he became accustomed to the big bed, we would stop swaddling him. As with her other well laid baby plans, this one also unravelled in the blink of an eye.

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