Happy Diwali!

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Back in my public school teaching days, and even the years I spent in Brazil, I may have mentioned Diwali during our PC attempts at holiday inclusiveness. Most often in December along with Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and any others that came to mind.

But true Diwali (as in the one celebrated by Hindus around the world) takes place between mid-October and mid-November. There are new clothes, lights, gifts and sweets shared among friends and family. Not so different from Christmas and Hanukkah in the States. Except for the fireworks. Its 7:30 am and the fireworks have already begun. I have a girls’ staycation planned for a couple of days and Paul’s holed up with his computer working on his Masters’ capstone project. Not celebrating in the tradtiional way, but trying to love it all and soak this time in during our last Diwali in India. IMG_5897 IMG_5903 IMG_5906

Hello Monday

The Sunday blues inevitably lead to Monday morning.

How can Monday hold so much promise when Sunday seemed so endless?

And added to the list of things I never thought I would say, “Thank goodness its Monday”.

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Hello to Diwali week. I steadying myself for beautiful lights and fireworks late into the night.

Hello to a short two day work week.

Hello to a girls’ staycation downtown at the Taj Hotel.

Hello to celebrating a friends’ birthday.

Hello to Week 3 training for the Yukon Do It Half Marathon.

Hello to a patient husband making sure it can all happen.

Hello to the beautiful chaos of a family of 5.

On Repeatedly Failing

I often wonder how hard and how often I can fail before the world throws up its collective arms.

Or at least my husband throws up his arms.

And takes the children far, far away from their perfectionist-seeking neurotic mother.

Tonight, Paul told me that that story was getting old.

I agree.

I’m tired of being irrationally irritated by empty Yakult bottles and sticky plates left behind.

I come home from running errands or hanging at the pool with the kids and that’s all I see.

I see the dishes.

I see the toys.

I see the shoes.

And it all immediately starts chipping away at my mood in an unbelievably rapid pace. It doesn’t matter how chipper I was moments before I unlocked the door, because all that will evaporate like an unattended glass of white wine.

Instead of the dirty dishes I need to see the Sunday pancake breakfast.

Instead of the toys I need to see the sisters that played together peacefully all morning.

Instead of the shoes I need to see the amazing little people I get to share my life with.

Its two sides of the same coin.

Its up to me which side I see.

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When the Going Gets Tough

It’s been a bit of a rough week around these parts. And by rough, I mean in a very first world way. There have been childcare issues, crazy evenings, early morning meetings, and packing for a school trip that has Noah gone for the next three days. Nothing terrible or catastrophic-just a bunch of little things that tend to grate on my nerves until Tuesday night feels like Thursday night and that Fall Break from last week seems very, very far away.

The palm of my hand is my barometer during times like these. When I’m stressed, whether in actuality or just in my brain, I get a patch of dry skin on my hand. As my stress gets worse, the dry skin gets worse.

Let’s just say I’m close to wearing gloves indoors at this point.

I grasp for some piece of control during these times. I’ve made lists of morning and afternoon routines for the kids. Heck, I even made a flowchart for their screen time. I’ll take any allusion of order that I can.

And so, I do what I do when things feel chaotic.

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I signed up for another half marathon. I’ve got Yukon Do It on the calendar for December 28. I need a training schedule and a race deadline. I need workouts put on the calendar and the peace that comes with a draining run. I’m excited to run in the cold air, along the Puget Sound, and question my sanity step by step for (hopefully less than) three hours.

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For me, when the going gets tough, the tough register for a half marathon.

My legs will burn, my brain will turn to mush as I turn mile after mile on the treadmill, and somehow that will propel me forward through this dark and narrow tunnel.

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Silver Lining

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A good friend recently celebrated her one year “go gray” anniversary. She’s the same age that I am, in her mid-thirties, and got tired of the time and energy it took to cover up the gray hair that kept creeping in. A year ago she decided no more, and since then has let nature take its course. She now has a lovely silverish bob that looks sleek and current and, except for the occasional haircut, is relatively easy to maintain. Earlier this week she posted her anniversary pics on Istagram and I was struck by the beauty of it all. She’d splurged on a blowout and styled cut for the celebratory day, and of course, looked amazing, but that wasn’t what struck me. Instead, I recognized a piece of her was embracing her authenticity by accepting the gray. It also left me feeling that I (and I am guessing some others too) have my own gray to welcome into my life as well.

While I definitely have some gray roots popping up, for me I don’t think that’s my true gray. For me, my true gray is deeper. It’s that piece of me I keep up for the sake of other people, not because it necessarily benefits me. It’s my storefront. It’s the image that is compiled via social media. Like coloring your hair, It’s fun to keep up and I often like the look, but its taking its toll on my mental energy. I’d say that maybe it was just the 1,068 fall break beach pictures I posted over the last few days, but I’ve been feeling this way for awhile. Facebook for me is feeling like its starting to take more than its giving back. And I need to change that.

I want my energy to go towards the things that matter in the end. Like really matter. Like my faith, my marriage, my kiddos, my writing, my running, and just generally cultivating the here and now.

I need to step back and embrace my gray for a little bit.

Of course that doesn’t mean I’ll never color my hair (or interact with Facebook) again. But right now I need to learn to live with the bit of the discomfort that comes with challenging the status quo.

And I need the first thing I check on in the morning to be my sleeping babies not status updates.

So for now I’m going to do my best to hang out here and on Instagram (@kaskyfam) from time to time and celebrate letting a few grays creep into my life day by day. It may be a bit uncomfortable at first, and I am sure I’ll be tempted to throw in the towel many times over, but I have a feeling I might really like the result in the end.

Be Open To Your Story

I lay on the cool spongy floor soaking in the silence around me. The air is cool and the smell of rubber hangs heavily in the air. Someone next to me lets out a small snore. I’m always nervous during shivasana, which most likely defeats the purpose of it. I worry that I’m not doing it correctly. That I’ll doze off and not wake up at the appropriate time. And sometimes, I am afraid I am not relaxed enough. And that only stresses me out more. You can see where my issues lie.

But despite the fact that I am terrible at yoga I keep going back. Trying to escape my monkey brain and turn off the incessant chatter inside my head. Today, I managed to sink deeply into relaxation for a few seconds before my brain snapped back into action.

This time though, instead of the thoughts of tomorrow’s lesson plans, the kids’ after school schedules, and dinner that was waiting to be made, a single phrase began echoing through my head.

Be open to your story.

Be open to your story.

Be open to your story.

I felt the words being etched into my brain. I found myself grasping at them, knowing their value and so afraid I would lose them before I could process them.

Be open to your story.

Be open to your story.

Be open to your story.

For the last six years our story has been composed of passports and luggage. Travel and new experiences. Hellos and goodbyes.

But now we’ve decided to turn the page and write the next chapter.

We know the main characters will remain the same. But the setting will be different and so will the plot of every day life.

Our new story feels a bit familiar, yet exciting. Warm and comforting. A long deep exhale.

But I can already see I’m going to miss the chapter we are just finishing. The excitement of magical places, the hilarious stories about cultural mishaps, and the frequent correction of “Yes, India. No, not IndiANA. India”.

Surprisingly, at this point in our lives, staying overseas would be the easier thing to do. We get it. We know how it works. Our kids know how it works.

But, of course, we couldn’t just do the easy thing.

We had to be open to our story.

And right now, that story is beginning to unfold on Bainbridge Island. The small town living, clean air, open grassy fields, and camping are calling us.

Noah was 4 and Sophie 2 when we left. None of them have ever gone to school in the States. Being the new kid in a large-ish international school seems doable to them, but being the new kid in a class full of others who most likely know each other?

Downright frightening.

But it is September. We have several more months of international adventures ahead of us and a few more 20+ hour flights to survive. We have months to plan our Christmas trip home, when we can haul back some of most favorite things. The kids have months to begin to process the transition in front of us. We’ll even have a much longer summer than we’re used to, and when the kids are enrolled in their camps they’ll know the friendships they make could actually turn into something beyond a few days.

We’ve been clear with the kids that this move isn’t forever. Or it could be. Only time will tell. All we know is right now we need to reconnect in the States for the next few years.

Beyond that, well-we just need to be open to our story.

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Down to the Bones

I was hesitant to push publish yesterday.

Sharing your writing is much like appearing in public naked. Or so I’ve heard. Lately I can’t help but write from the very barest of places. No fancy fonts, beautiful pictures, and exclamation marks to cover up the truth of the story. 

And sharing yesterday-telling the whole world or anyone who’d read-that yes, we are in fact, going to be leaving our jobs at the end of the year with our three children in tow reaches pretty far into the depths of our story right now. 

Many of you asked where we are going. The truth?

We have no idea.

One day we have dreams that take us to a new school and city around the world. The next I’m mentally building my backyard chicken coop and looking up CSAs on Bainbridge Island. 

I feel certain we will know which decision is right for us as a family when it presents itself. Whether that’s stupidity or temporary zen is yet to be seen.

Back in 2007 during one of our first PD days back at school, we were given the charge, complete with chart paper and smelly markers, to share a quote that spoke to us.  I stood in front of my colleagues and shared my quote for the year:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Less than a year later we found ourselves living in Brazil and teaching at an international school. As far away from the suburban cul-de-sac minivan life as we could be. Back then, I laughed at the absurdity of my previous motherhood years spent on Saturday Target runs and commuting to a job nearly an hour away. At the time, it all seemed so trivial compared to seeing the world.

We’ve spent 7 years abroad living the expat life. That’s a drop in the bucket to some and a lifetime for others. I’m not quite sure which it is for us yet. Two of our children were born in the States and our third abroad. This life has taught them about adaptation and versatility – skills that will serve them well in the coming months.

The years in front of us could go in so many directions. I’m trying to make myself relax into the priorities we’ve set for our family and envision us fulfilling those priorities rather than becoming focused a specific place for our next adventure. 

We are the guards of our family and to be sure, we will make the best decision possible. For them.HighResKasky-10