31 October 2014

Trick or Treat

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Where did N learn that pose? She did it all day long…

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Spidey took his mask off so we could see his smile. That’s exactly what he told me.

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She’s a doll.

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Who knew a lobster costume could ever be so cute?!

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Mike is traveling. I don’t recommend trick or treating as a solo parent with three kids. Luckily I had friends who helped me. A lot. Otherwise I most certainly would have lost a child or two. It gets reeeeeaaaaally dark out there. Really, very dark! Ha!

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Here I picked her up out of the stroller between houses. On a 30 second walk she dug in her bag, grabbed a twizzler and shoved it in her mouth, wrapper and all. And she wouldn’t let go of it.

It was  a lot of work to get Lil’ A up the porches to get candy. So I took her a few times and then I snuggled her in the stroller hoping she’d be content.

She was.

If I fed her candy.

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Lil’ A never really had much candy before today. And today she had tons. Just this evening I gave her five (FIVE!) suckers one after the other just to keep her happy riding the stroller.

She was one sticky girlie.

Happy, sticky girlie.  It would have been Mikey’s worst nightmare…. toddler unsupervised in a stroller with five suckers.

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The sort. (And Sweet N’s ballerina pose again…)

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It was a good night y’all.

29 October 2014

Tried and True Recipes–Mama’s Banana Bread

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When we lived in Africa I made A LOT of banana bread. Often times it was a quadruple batch at one time. It was just a good snack/breakfast in a country where everything had to be made from scratch. I sometimes used wheat flour and flax seeds and vegetables to make it healthy. At some points in time I was sneaking so many vegetables in it (mostly carrots and zucchini) that it wasn’t really sneaky at all and I started calling it Garden Bread!

I tried many different banana bread recipes as ‘base recipes’ over the years.

But after all these years I always come back to this one. And now all the others have gone in the garbage. The only one left is…

… my Mama’s.

It’s simple. It’s delicious. And it ALWAYS gets compliments.

So here you have it:

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 c mashed banana (or more, or less!)
  • 1/4 c plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • (a handful of chocolate chips for good measure) *optional

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg. Beat in the remaining ingredients. One bowl, halleluiah!

Oven 350 for 50-60 minutes if using one large loaf pan.

Sometimes simple is best. Love ya Mama!

23 October 2014

Lil’ A in Africa

After Mikey and I made it through immigration with Lil’ A, we left the airport and a dear friend met us to drive us to a lovely hotel for the night. We were worried about jet lag, but A did just fine and we all slept SO well all night.

We woke and had a lovely continental breakfast (one thing I love about that region of the world) and then took a taxi to meet friends at a bus to take us to the conference.

A was happy to be with her Daddy, and happy to see the new and strange sights out the window…

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The reunions with old friends started on the bus and continued all week.

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Such joy.

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Rarely does my girlie sleep in my arms, but I got a few of these sleeping snuggles on this trip.

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We had a nice room at the conference center and girlie did amazing all week with jet lag. She took naps most days and slept well most nights. We were so thankful. On such a short trip, jet lag can be so difficult.

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She loved the ramp out front.

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And she made new friends with EVERYONE. She’s not shy, that girlie, that’s for sure.

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Oh the joy to see this friend again…

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What to say about our time at the conference? It was much, much more than we had hoped it would be. We were so very encouraged and full of joy to be back in the region with colleagues that we love.

Some of us were tired though. It’s about time this little one got to experience the wonders of no car seat laws in Africa. We rode for hours like this. I prefer my children to be in car seats, but when it’s not available… no problem! Say a prayer and snuggle up for the ride.

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We had one night in the city with dear friends and then the next day we boarded three flights to get back home to our big kiddos…

20 October 2014

The Three Flights

About a month ago I took a trip to Africa with my Tot. I wrote this when we were about ready to go. But then life got crazy and I never revisited the subject.

Oops.

So we had three flights to get us to our destination. Mike was supposed to meet us at the gate of the final destination (having flown into the same airport just a few hours before) but we didn’t actually know as we started our journey if he’d be there or not!

The first airport was fine. We were fresh!  And the lovely airline people gave me an extra seat for the peanut.

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It was at this point, however, that I realized that she had just learned to run that week. How convenient…

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She did a lot of running.

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And she made a friend and checked the size of herself as a carry on.

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Then we boarded the plane and the first flight was a short one to Canada. It was easy. She mostly charmed the passengers sitting around us. She flirted with everyone and had a selfie taken with her and ate peoples food and was given a bracelet. One man taught her to stick out her tongue and she was so happy I never even had to get up and walk with her. It was great.

In Toronto we had lots of delays. Late was getting later and it was way past her bedtime. The main terminal was packed but a few turns away we found a deserted terminal. And space is the best thing for traveling todders. She stayed busy for awhile…

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Climbing around and coloring in her own notebook…

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…wherever she felt inspired…

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We also practiced jumping, ran in circles, smeared chocolate goo on the windows and climbed on anything climable.

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We finally boarded and had an extra seat again, which was wonderful.

By now it was so late we did jammies and melatonin. She went to sleep during takeoff and slept nearly the entire flight, which was overnight.

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I slept also for a couple minutes at a time. She was restless and kept rolling around and I had to constantly catch her and put her back on the seat so she wouldn’t hit the floor. But I was so thankful she slept! The old man sitting on her other side was thankful too, I’m sure.

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Now we’re in Frankfurt and I had this on my hands. One flight of fitful sleep only equaled about half of her normal rest, in my estimations.

So, that’s where the photos stop on that journey. After a layover in Frankfurt, we had four more hours to our final destination.

Those hours were rough. ROUGH. The plane was small. It wasn’t a particularly friendly crowd. Lil’ A was grumpy and restless and there was no room to move. We walked the aisle (The plane was so small that there was only ONE aisle on a four hour flight, ack!). She barely slept. She cried a lot. It was so challenging. It was an amazing exercise in patience and grace for me. “Mind over matter. Mind over matter.”

I kept my mind focused on the fact that we’d see Mike soon and I wouldn’t have to travel with a toddler by myself ever again in my life (?!). I was putting all my hope in seeing him at the end of the flight. But I actually didn’t know if it was true, so I was also pep-talking myself into continuing alone. Ack!

However.

We made it.

We deplaned.

We rode the bus.

We escalated and walked our way to the visa hall.

And there was Mikey! He was waiting for us. He waited 8 hours in that little arrival hall for us! I burst out in tears.  I was so relieved to see him. So so relieved.

So that was my solo journey with Lil’ A. My traveling-with-tots motto is “Failure is not an option.” No matter how bad it was… we made it, and that’s the goal!

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Africa Summer 2014 to be continued…

13 October 2014

Awkward Poses–Flashback Edition

Please, let us flashback to our short trip to India in 2011.

My children have such VERY charming poses.

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Oh my goodness.  I can’t stop laughing! I sure hope these aren’t used for blackmail one day. Sorry kids, if that happens. This blog is for the good and the bad and awkward…

Classic Fall

I added three kids to my own crew this afternoon. We headed outside on a gorgeous afternoon and it wasn’t long before a master plan had been formed to pile up leaves and jump in!

The photos are sub-par, but they serve the purpose of propping up my memory of a great hour spent outside…

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“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” –L.M. Montgomery