Not a thing

As we head into this weekend we have NOT A THING planned, with the exception of our normal Sunday evening church! I think this might be the first time in a long time we have nothing penciled in. I am looking forward to doing a few projects around the house and taking some long walks. It might be almost pumpkin patch time!

Weekly Happenings at the Kolb house…

1. Owen is an exceptionally good climber and his #1 goal this week has been to play on top of the coffee table. Or the dining room table. Or the patio table.  Oh yes, and his #2 goal is to bring rocks in from the atrium and dump them onto the tile floor. I tried to describe the “terrible two’s” to a Swiss friend this week…ironically it isn’t in their vocabulary!  Apparently only American kids get ornery at age 2. Still not enough to convince me that I would rather be Swiss :)

2. Jackson loves school. And this my friends is the last day of the first of three weeks of Fall break. What kid gets 3 weeks of fall break? Anyhow, he is missing his buddies and routine! As am I! I love not rushing in the morning and I love that he and Owen are getting more brother time but I do miss the down time of only having one boy at home!

3. Learning to be brothers takes a long time, maybe a lifetime! The boys are daily sharing lots of laughs and playing battle of the wills.

4. Owen is having a burst of new words this week! He is so proud of himself and it is neat to see Jackson encouraging him.  When we ask him “who loves _______ ?” He yells “I do”. Some of his his other words lately are “M&M”, “baball”/baseball, “taco”, and “ummy”/yummy.

5. My semi-OCD tendencies come out when I do things like making family albums from 2009, 2010 and starting 2011 at the same time.  As well as taking some online Speech Path courses. 10 hours of classes done and done with 2009, halfway done with 2010 and not even sure I will last through 2011.  I may not ever go back to Speech path but at least I will have family albums, right?!

6. And just so Seth doesn’t feel left out I will add that he basically runs the show in the consular section right now! After a summer of training all of the new officers and getting shifted over to American Citizen Services he is now covering for people as they receive their shipments of household goods. Somehow he keeps his cool even though he is often doing his job and the job of many others. Did I mention he is still in the bidding process and we are SO ready to be done?!

Jackson quote of the week:

Yesterday I asked Jackson what he thought we could do to make Seth’s day easier. I suggested Jackson collect trash from the bathrooms since it is trash day today. Jackson responded with “no, that’s not really what I was sinking (read: thinking), I sink maybe I should go take care of organizing daddy’s money for him, his coin basket is making his room so messy”.








this is a random pic from last yr at this time! Amazing how they have grown!

So there you have it, a whole lot of nothing at all. Have a great weekend, folks!

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I received the neatest email yesterday. I was in touch recently with a long time family friend because I had had a dream about her daughter and thought it was so random I should tell her.  I expected a reply about the dream, which I got, but most of her message was telling me how she has prayed for me throughout my life and how she continues to think about us. She described knowing me as a child and watching me grow up. She is someone that knew me as my personality was developing, shared her kids as playmates with me and was and is a dear friend to my mom.

I have expressed here in the blog before how one of the downsides of our lifestyle is the struggle of really knowing people or them knowing us.  Yes, we are busy and we are social and we have gotten to know people wherever we have lived. But in terms of lifelong, you know me well enough to call on a bad day kind of friends, they are far more rare.  I feel like it is so important for our kids to have people that really know them as much as it is for Seth and I. People that see their personalities forming, quirks and all and take joy in them.  My blog is my effort to help friends and family stay connected so that in some small way they might share life with us and feel like they somehow know us even though we live far away.  Catch me on a bad day and I would for sure let tears fall feeling my efforts don’t quite cut it. Catch me on another bad day and I would cry equally about feeling far from my nieces and nephews and friends kids, wishing I could be more a part of their daily lives, hearing about the little things and the big accomplishments. I don’t blog because I have lots of free time or because my kids are well-behaved enough to entertain themselves happily so I can have a hobby. In fact at this moment Owen is screaming next to me, drooling on my leg because his brother just yelled at him to get away from his masterpiece building, yada, yada.  It doesn’t slow down around here yet I feel like this is an effort I want to invest in for the sake of relationship.

As I went through my day yesterday I was thinking about friends we have had along the way in Dallas, DC, Bogota and now Bern.  Each step of the way we have had friends and family that have filled this role.  It’s always a risk to open up and allow people to be close, to share my kids (even on days when they embarrass me to death with tantrums and such), and to do it all knowing we will only be in close proximity for a short amount of time.  As we continue on this FS path I will admit that although in some ways it becomes easier to meet people and make plans the vulnerability and investment part becomes harder.  As we are already into this final year in Bern I am trying to be focused on knowing and being known despite the distance and time line.  And I will cherish that sweet message from a friend who was able to remind me where I came from and looks on to where we are headed.

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Trip to Florida

Many of you know that I headed home a few weeks ago for my grandfather’s memorial service. I feel weird saying it was a wonderful time because it was for a sad occasion, but it was it was celebratory of my grandfather’s life and it was a sweet time of visiting with relatives that I see far too rarely. We shared meals, long talks, walks, laughter and tears. We all flew in for the weekend coming from our own stresses and realities but for those few days we were able to reconnect and share each others burdens. Here are some photos from the time.







my brothers







my aunts, I wish I lived close enough for weekly coffee dates with them! I admire them both so much.







the whole family….missing our cousin Ethan and spouses and children!







Uncle Fred and my mom doing morning yoga by the bay…one of those laughable moments from the weekend.


For the few days before the Memorial I spent some time with my “sisterfriends”…we have been friends since 7th grade so they are long time friends but really more like my sisters. Leigh flew in from Texas and surprised me and we stayed at Bonnie’s place in Tampa.  We spent our days together shopping, eating out, getting pedicures and relaxing at the beach. Seth told me to take the days and to have an early 30th birthday celebration since I wouldn’t be able to celebrate with these girls in January. Bonnie was a wonderful hostess and it was so nice to be able to see her home and have her take us around Tampa.












































One night we spent a night on Anna Maria Island. I got up early the next morning to walk on the beach and find some shells. I lucked out and found a seahorse and a sand dollar.

It was so tough to leave Seth and the boys but it was so special to have some time with friends and family. I am so thankful Seth not only held down the fort but encouraged me to go!


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Little boys







this is how it’s done, Owen



























strategy…be the hitter and catcher..get that ball before Jackson







ball thief







Jackson wising up and guarding the bat and ball










“who me?”







“we aren’t opening the gate, mom, we are guarding it!”



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