Friday, January 9, 2015


Well that got your attention...

I am indeed moving.  Not physically.

The Blog is moving.

I can't bring myself to shut this one down because I want to have these old posts (and seriously, some of them are really funny)...but please direct your attention to my new blog on WordPress.

I won't promise greatness.  But I guarantee it will be genuine.

so, bookmark it or subscribe to the RSS...but don't miss out!

Monday, January 5, 2015


My family is complicated.  Over the years I've been asked on more than one occasion to explain using a visual aid.  I have an especially fond memory of sitting down over coffee and drawing a flow chart for one of my friends who happens to be blessed with a "Leave it to Beaver"-style family (I think it might have been a two coffee morning). It so happens that The Husband came from one of those families.  When I was younger, I was at times jealous of the simpler relationships and uncomplicated arrangements that seemed to go along with the "standard" family background.  I've also adopted a policy of Don't Ask-Don't Tell in the early days of new relationships over the years.  Because, it's really enough for a potential new friend to handle my convoluted answer to "Where are you From?" without hammering them with my complicated family story.  I know I'm not alone in the expat universe in cringing inwardly at that question.  And I also know I'm not alone when people either think I'm kidding, crazy, or just too weird to bother with.  Which brings me back to my family.

It's been seven years since we came "home" for the holidays.  The last time we did it, Trouble was 4 months old.  That year, we stayed in 4 different places, visited 7 different towns across Colorado and left feeling sure that despite our back-breaking efforts-we'd pleased no one.   Trouble also suffered from double ear infections and I'm absolutely certain slept for a total of 10 hours in the entire 2 weeks we were in the USA.  It was not an adventure we ever wanted to duplicate.  In fact, we swore we would never do it again.  And we really enjoyed making new family traditions of our own.  We have spent Christmases in the Swiss Alps, at glorious beach locales in Southeast Asia and Hawaii, and at our homes.  We've never regretted not coming home.  Until the girls got old enough to ask us about our own childhood memories...and then we both started to wax nostalgic for SNOW.  And large gatherings.  And, well, Traditional Cold American Christmas.  Add to our own reverie the fact that both of the girls have begun to answer "Colorado" when asked the aforementioned dreaded "Where are you From" question (despite the fact that neither of them have ever truly lived in Colorado)...we began to really consider making the journey again.  The final decision was made when the girls combined their collective giant-eyed, eyelash-batting power to convince us that they NEEDED to learn how to ski.  The Husband is a truly fabulous skier and comes from a "Skiing Family" (yes, there is a back story here...but I'll save you the digression).  They also negotiated hard and agreed that the trip plus their skiing lessons and passes would be their Christmas presents.

And so, this year, we packed up ourselves...5 suitcases full of cold weather gear, gifts and decorations and came to Colorado for the girls' school holiday.

I admit now that a large part of my reluctance to do the trip at Christmas was that I was certain that we would kill ourselves again to make time for everybody and, once again, everybody would be mad at us when the trip was over.  This year, thanks to the fact that we now own a home we can host from, we invited them all to come to us instead of traversing the state.  Aside from one really stupid calendar error on my part (I really am sorry, Dad!), we managed to operate the Hotel Circus-Broccoli and offer hospitality to 17 members of our family in rotations.   We weren't able to see all of the friends we would have liked to see...and a really unfortunately timed case of the stomach flu kept us from seeing family we really would have loved to see...but all in all it was wonderful.  And I really think I was wrong.

Today, as I folded the 9th set of sheets that came out of the dryer, I wasn't worried that I'd offended.  I wasn't exhausted and emotional and worn out.  The thought that overwhelmed me completely was that ALL of those people were willing to re-arrange their lives and drive (literally) HOURS in truly horrible weather JUST to spend some time with us.  My girls actually anointed this vacation "THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER" the day we arrived.  I really had fear that they were setting me up to disappoint them.  But even on Christmas morning...when there were truly only a few small gifts from their grandparents and their one gift from Santa Claus...and NO GIFTS from mom & dad...the girls were smiling and grateful and gleefully singing "White Christmas" while watching giant snowflakes fall outside our windows.  We skied on Christmas Day.  They will never forget this Christmas.  Today, they asked if we could please come back next year.  While I'm not ready to commit to anything...I will say that I'm so grateful for my big complicated crazy family.  And that includes the "Leave it to Beaver" side that The Husband brought into my life (you're not overly complicated but I'm definitely throwing you all in the crazy camp).  I'm certain that people with uncomplicated families wouldn't feel this same sense of accomplishment mingled with humility at having pulled off something like our 3 weeks in Colorado.

So, tomorrow I will pack up the house and we will suffer the indignity of 24-hours on 3 airplanes wearing the same pair of underpants.  My kids will weep at the end of snow forts and cigar icicles....and my tummy will hurt knowing my eldest nephew will likely be taller than me when we return in June (yeah I know that's not that hard)...but I will also be grinning inside because I am going back to 85 degrees, and a routine that makes me happy and confident.

Thank you Complicated Family for all the joy you brought to me and my family this Christmas.  I love each and every one of you.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Where Are They Now?

Remember that VH1 show from the early 'oughts?

I particularly loved the ones about the child stars that burned out.  Early reality TV kind of rocked.  I'm talking about The Real World before it was scripted.  Current reality TV scares me.  I'm not even sure how many different versions of The Real Housewives exist but I am basically certain that they are all absolute garbage.  I take real offense when people suggest (somewhat facetiously?  Good lord I hope so) that there should be a Real Housewives of Bangkok and I should be on it.  First of all, I'm entirely uninteresting-particularly in the Bangkok universe.  Secondly, those shows are just trashy overexposure of people that thrive on messy drama.  And lastly, I haven't been in any kid of a brawl or cat fight since the early '90s.  So, Just No.

I've spent my internet surfing time today re-reading the old posts on my blog (seriously-I am funny!)...and when I read my introductory post it occurred to me that a real update was in order.  While I'm 100% certain that everybody who is reading this knows...I harbor this secret wish that my decision to write again will one day bring me many loving, loyal readers who don't meet me for bootcamp and coffee every weekday, or weren't one of my college roommates.

So-a few things need to be addressed to get this blog up to date.

First of all, if we met in the last 3.5 years, you probably never knew me as Broccoli Mom.  Or you might assume it's because I've recently taken up a Real Food mission alongside my eldest.  But the name of this blog came about because back when the kids were bitty bits, I did most of the heavy lifting parenting-wise.  The Husband got to stroll in to cheers and applause, ignore the rules and dole out gifts and chocolate.  In retrospect, I'm guessing all partnerships have one parent who is the Bad Cop and one parent who is the Good Cop.  In our family, I'm still the Heavy.  I'm Broccoli Mom because I get to make sure the serious things are taken care of.  When they were 3 and 6, that was mostly bedtime and vegetable eating.  Now, it's all of friend issues, and homework, and goals, and clothes, and screen time and allowance.  The Husband is still Circus Dad in that he comes home in time to get hugs and kisses and he gets to break the rules and let them stay up late and watch Harry Potter while eating ON THE SOFA (mom rule #38 is all food belongs in the kitchen).  But more and more lately, I fell a little bit sorry for Circus Dad because he does miss out on the details of the day.  But I know deep in my heart that they will both hate me passionately, in turns...and that's not so far off.

Secondly, there is a big difference between parenting a toddler and a first grader and the parenting I do now.  Part of why it was so fun to re-read my old posts was that I forgot how challenging it was to deal with a kid that wouldn't sleep.  Or the toddler tantrums.  The expat adventures are just the background.  The real story here is just a family figuring it out.  I really do wish I had blogged through the last 4 years.  I'd love to have that (instead of a zillion stupid FB status updates) to look back on.  Drama is now 10.8 years old and in the Fifth Grade.  She's not so dramatic these days.  In fact, she's really more pensive and dreamy.  She is very much still a little girl, but she has begun to question my version of "Cool" and definitely has her own sense of humor.  She does love to be involved in drama, and will be a part of the Elementary School Musical (Aladdin) in we'll just let her keep that moniker.  Trouble is 7.4 years old and in the 2nd grade.  She sleeps through the night, gets up and takes care of herself and the dog(S!! Yep-we have two now!) and sometimes even has my coffee ready when I come downstairs. I feel a little bit bad about having called her Trouble for so long.  Clearly, she keeps us on our toes...and I am all but certain that she will cause me great agony in her teen years...but she isn't so much Trouble these days.  She's cheeky and charming and social.  Until I can come up with a new name, I guess she will remain Trouble.

Strangely, my life is much the same as it was in Hong Kong.  I confess that up until this point...looking back our very brief stint in Hong Kong was my very favorite.  However, life in Bangkok is wonderful.  It's probably the easiest place we've ever lived.  We continue to live happily with Help.  I've been very lucky on that front and please don't for a moment think we take that lightly or for granted.  I absolutely believe that acknowledging and expressing gratitude for the amazing things in our life is before this ride ends-I'll say it again-having Help is the single greatest parenting tool on the planet.  I spend my days much the same way that I did four years ago with the exception that I took my crazy competitive nature to an unhealthy and ridiculous extreme of over-involvement and over-commitment for a while.  Now, I have vowed to only volunteer with things that put me directly WITH my children.  I do not attend meetings that take me away from my children.  So, PTA and Boards of any organization are out.   I still lead the Girl Scout troop for Drama, but now I also do it for Trouble.  I really love it.  Though if we ever move to the US and I have to manage Cookie Sales, I might re-think my involvement.

This holiday, we took the girls to Colorado to visit family and friends and to take them skiing.  We're wrapping up our time in the USA and I'm debating if a 2-hour drive to Target is worthwhile.  My early blog self would be screaming "Yes!" and chugging a 64-oz icy Diet Coke...but my much more reasonable current self is thinking Pilates and an extra hour to organize the house sounds like a better use of that time.  Clearly proof that I'm getting old...I can't believe I've just talked myself out of a trip to Target.

So, that brings you up to speed.  Sorry, this post definitely not so funny.  I'll try harder next time.