31 December 2007

Happy Tadpole

Our wee babe sleeps much better if he's swaddled. Only problem is that it's too hot here to do a full swaddle. So, we just swaddle his arms. The thing is... when his legs stick out the bottom he looks like a little tadpole! He's the cutest (and happiest) little tadpole, don't you think?

And yes, that is his custom satin sheet.
;)

Injuries

I spend much of my time in the kitchen. Today, among other things, I made a wacky lemon cake with frosting and baba ganoush. I also steamed a bunch of pumpkin for freezing and cleaned a bunch of vegetables for later this week.

Since I started spending so much time in the kitchen (about a year and a half ago) my number of burns and cuts has escalated. I mean, the math makes sense... more time in the kitchen cooking and cutting= more burns and more cuts.

Today I did both.
ouch.

26 December 2007

Satin

I sewed my son a satin sheet for his bassinet. Call me crazy. Go ahead. I deserve it.

Thing is... his hair is so long, that he would wake up each morning with knots and mini-dreads in the back of his head from moving around in his sleep. I had to keep cutting his hair off cause I couldn't get the tangles out. So, I took a cue from old ladies who sleep on satin pillow cases to preserve their I-get-my-hair-styled-once-a-week-at-the-salon-and-need-it-to-look-good-until-next-week hairdos.

It worked. No more mini-dreads. Maybe he won't end up bald after all... just a little spoiled.

:)

23 December 2007

Success

Not only did we finally have a successful bath (no bodily fluids added to the water)... we even had a big grin! He decided that bathtime in a warm place is way more fun than bathtime in a cold place!! (Although he did say he misses the times when Grammi washed him up!)
:)

Golden Girls

When I was a freshman in college, I had cable tv for the first time. You might think I got addicted to something like "The Real World" or VH1 music videos. But no... it was the Golden Girls. The show that I hated in childhood and breathed a disgruntled sigh if Mom chose to watch it in the evenings now had double episodes twice a day. I was one happy girl with all those episodes to watch. (I mean, I had a lot to catch up on!) Rose, Blanche, Sophia and Dorothy became some of my closest friends...

he he

All that to say... just now, as I was changing my boy's diaper, the theme song popped into my head. You know how it goes... "Thank you for being a friend... travelin' down the road and back again. You heart is true, you're a pal and a confidant..." As I sang it to him, a huge grin popped across his sweet little face.

I love my son. And not only cause he smiles at the Golden Girls theme song...
:)

17 December 2007

Second Bath

Today we tried again. Luckily I had my assistant, Mike, ready to help in case things went wrong. He peed in the water, then we switched the water, then he pooped in it. So we switched the water again (during which time he pooped in the towel Mike was holding him in). Luckily the third tub full of water remained free of bodily substances while I washed him.

A clean, nice smelling little baby is worth all the trouble... but are there are tips to try to prevent all the dirtying of the water?

:)

15 December 2007

First Bath

Yesterday was our boy's first bath (in a baby bathtub). He hated sponge baths in Ohio, but didn't mind this at all. I suppose he didn't mind it cause the air in the house is 90 degrees instead of 65! All was going well until he spit up in the water. Then he pooped in the water! At that point we had a quick evacuation of little baby from the polluted water.

Today we went back to a sponge bath.
:)

14 December 2007

Learning...

So, traveling with a baby is a whole new game...

Stairs and escalators don't work very well with a stroller... where ARE those those elevators? (usually not in the direction you're headed)

Extra luggage, carry-ons, stroller, car seat and baby too? (Yep! And no extra hands!)

Which bathrooms on the airplane have changing tables? (Not all of them, that's for sure)

Will baby's ears pop during takeoff and landing? (Not this time!)

Do you have to tip the guy who comes to the boarding gate to take you in the elevator to the tarmac? (We didn't... is that a problem?)

Are the people behind us going through security frustrated cause we're taking so long? (If they are... too bad)

Will people stare at me when I feed the baby at the airport? (Most definitely)

Can I eat my tray of food and hold baby at the same time? (Not yet... maybe I'll learn the art in the future)

Is there enough room to nurse baby in my seat with a very large man on my right and a lady behind me who won't let me lean my seat back? (Yes, but it's terribly uncomfortable and awkward)

Will an untimely dirty diaper make me miss the end of a really good in-flight movie? (Yes, and that probably won't be the only time...)

Luckily, my tiny baby is quite a traveling trooper... he hardly made a peep!! And we learned A LOT about traveling with a baby in the process. But we are glad that part is over...

Onto new challenges of mosquitoes and (gasp) cloth diapers!!

05 December 2007

For the First Time

For the first time ever... today I got a professional massage! It was my 26th birthday present from my husband, and it was amazing. He's so thoughtful! 50 minutes of total relaxation. I was spoiled! A good friend of mine has been getting massages occasionally for years... now I see why!

It was the perfect end to the mini-vacation that we took as a family. We will go back home in a few days, and before we leave it was good to take a little break. We went for a few swims and learned that our boy is not a fan of the pool yet... but he sure was cute in his little swimmers diapers that came up to his chest! And we ate waffles at the continental breakfast and read free US Today newspapers (great hotel perk). It was fun!

Things are busy as we prepare to go. We're sad to leave our families and to take the baby far from all of their loving and adoring arms... but we are excited to return to the place we call home and settle in.

And the truth is... we'll back again
before we know it to see Mike's sister tie the knot next summer! Whooo-hoooo!

23 November 2007

Our Little Peanut

Our sweet little boy.

The Good, the Bad, and the Funny... Three Things About the Nights

The good: I can sleep on my stomach again! For a long-time tummy-sleeper, it was a rough few months when the stomach was too big to lay on top of. Those days are over! Whoo-hooo!

The bad: Getting up once or twice in the middle of the night for 30 to 60 mins takes some adjusting. Don't get me wrong... I want my son to grow big and strong, but it's new to me to get up in the middle of the night...

The funny: Now that I am often awake in the middle of the night, and my husband is VERY delirious in the middle of the night... it means I get some free entertainment! Mostly talking in his sleep. Fun stuff. Here is my favorite quote from the last couple weeks...

"You couldn't get the transformers out of the hole, and now here we are." (Sounded like he was blaming me!! I guess I should have tried harder to get the transformers out!).

So, if I'm gonna be interrupted from my comfy tummy sleeping in the middle of the night to nurse my son, I may as well get a chuckle out of my husband's delirium. :)

12 November 2007

8 Days Ago

8 days ago I gave birth to our precious baby boy. It was such a sweet time of welcoming him into this world. God's hand was upon us. We praise him for this amazing little gift.

We have gone from two to three. And couldn't be happier about it.

12 October 2007

Fresh Air

Got up this morning and took a walk as Mike took his run. I filled my lungs with fresh air as I waddled down the road. By the end of it the tip of my nose was like a teeny ice-cube and I felt so refreshed.

Gotta love clean American country air...

02 October 2007

21

21. The number of flights our has been on even before his birth. What in the world?!!! If only unborn babies could rack up frequent flier miles in the womb!

HA!

08 September 2007

Humbling

Today, my friend who has miscarried two babies in the past 7 months prayed for the health and safety of my pregnancy and delivery of our healthy little boy.

Talk about humbling...

30 August 2007

Harammi! Harammi! (Thief! Thief!)

The other night, there were a few of us waiting in the car on the main street of town as a friend waited for some cushions to be brought out to take home. Mike was in the front seat chatting with our 3 year old friend. I was sitting right behind him in the backseat with another friend and her baby. The windows were open cause it was stinking hot, and all of a sudden there was a guy with his arm and half his upper body in Mike's front window reaching for something in the car. (Mike was turned to the side chatting with the little girl).

Mike didn't see it happening behind his back, but this guy was right in front of my face! I tried to grab his arm, but failed and then he took off. I figured he had taken Mike's cell phone and I leaned out the window and yelled "Harammi! Harammi!" at the top of my lungs. (This is common practice if you see a thief). Our other friend was luckily standing outside the car when this all happened, so the thief didn't get much of a head start on him. Mike jumped out of the car lickety-split and also chased this guy.

They ran around the corner, and our friend tackled him to the ground as the thief threw the phone out in to the darkness, and then as soon as the thief got up Mike had just reached him and Mike also tackled him and had him pinned to the ground. And... my yelling had drawn lots of attention (that's the point) and a dozen locals had gathered around to see the white guys tackle this young thief.

Our friend collected the phone, and his watch and shoes (that had flown off during the tackle), and they came back to the car laughing. Mike even had mud smeared on his face!

The funniest part is that neither Mike or our friend knew what the thief had taken (neither of them saw it happen). They just reacted to my yelling and went chasing the guy not knowing what they were trying to retrieve.

Anyway, it shook me up for a minute, but before long we were all laughing. I think we'll laugh about it for a long time to come. But I still remain surprised at the nerve of that young man to reach in a car with 5 people inside in hopes of getting away with a cell phone.

This is our life, folks.

28 August 2007

94?

Came home yesterday afternoon to a bedroom that was 94 degrees. 94. Couldn't tell you what the temperature was outside in the sun...

I have accepted my fate to be one increasingly sweaty lady until we board that airplane in a couple weeks that will carry us home to the mother-land where bedrooms never reach 94 degrees (unless of course, you live in a half-of-a-pole-barn-turned-college-town-apartment with your sister for the summer). But that is a whole different story...

Strangely, I miss that apartment, and I think I'll miss my house here too while we're gone.

14 August 2007

Little Baby

On Sunday we went to have a check-up. Ultrasounds are routine (every month) here, so we had another! But this time the doc used his new 3-D machine from Sweden. He's still learning how the big machine works.

Anyhow, we saw the baby's face, his fingers, and even the 4 chambers of his heart and the valves opening and closing! It was really amazing.

Oh the joys of modern technology...

13 August 2007

Calling All Giants

We just moved into a new home. Smaller, older, a bit dirtier... but it's closer to town and fits our needs so well!

Anyway, the shower-head is mounted so far up that if I reach as far over my head as possible, I still can't reach it.

So, if you happen to know of any giants planning to come and visit this country... let me know. They can shower here.

:)

30 July 2007

Success

He's off. And go figure... they didn't even check his papers we worked so hard to get yesterday. I guess that's just the way it goes around here...
:)

29 July 2007

False Alarm

Nevermind. After a short nap, Mike called me. The rules for foreign travelers changed this week (as they do most weeks, I suppose). They refused to let him travel without prior permission from 'the offices.' So, we spent at least 8 hours going from office to office in the city, getting papers from this guy, stamps here, signatures there, copies for this one, pictures for that.

Just as we had given up, the 'big man' from one of the offices pulled up in his motorcycle and handed over the document that we had been working on all day. Permission granted. We think.

Tomorrow will make another painfully early morning. IF we managed all the right stamps and signatures, and IF the flight doesn't get cancelled, then maybe he'll be on his way.

One of the longest, most exhausting days we've had here. Too many of those would really do us in. But today, it's nothing a good meal, a foot soak, and an early night's rest won't fix.

28 July 2007

Airport Run

Well, I just dropped my husband off at the airport. One of those painfully early flights. He's going to the south for 4 days. It's really not a big deal, but generally I feel a little lost and sad without him. It was different when he left me alone at our house in the states. It was great actually... ate sandwiches for every meal, spent time dropping in on friends and NOT listening to talk radio in the morning commute! But not so great here. Mostly just boring. Last time he left I had a car accident. Not my fault but got totally blamed for the whole thing. Traumatizing.

So, I drove home just as the street lamps were switching off. Such a peaceful time of day. I pulled a covering over my head in hopes the policemen would maybe not notice that I'm a white lady and not be tempted to give me any trouble. So far it worked.

Here's to a restful Sunday and a hopefully uneventful week...

25 July 2007

3 years

Today, we celebrate 3 years of marriage.

I never knew how much my love for this man could grow over time. From the time I met him, I was drawn by his sense of humor, his depth, his dreams, his ambitions, his giftings, his values. At the time of marriage, there was not a doubt in my soul that he was the man for me, I loved him greatly and was excited to begin life by his side. I was so proud to become his wife.

As 3 years have passed, my love for him has grown so much deeper. I've always heard it said... and now it's me saying it. We have been nearly constant companions through many changes and adventures... but it's the normal moments when he brings me a cup of water before bed, or we're discussing whats in the news; washing the dishes together or taking a walk at twilight that I nearly get overwhelmed by my love for him. My respect for him and appreciation for the person that he is at his core has grown deep as I walk through life with him.

Caring for this precious man; being his best friend and his lover brings a depth of joy to my life that I never knew existed before.

A page is turned in this life, he's making her his wife
And there is no secret to the Source of this much life...

15 July 2007

Insomnia

Last night, my somewhat regular insomnia was happily endured.

What did it take?

None other than Anne ('spelt with an E!'), Marilla, Matthew, Gilbert (just marry him already!!), Diana (who married FRED??) and so many more dear friends. Okay, not real friends... but they sure do feel like it. Gotta love Anne of Green Gables... 3 disc set, 6 sides in total. Not a cure for for insomnia, but for a girl like me... a fairly pleasant way to spend the hours until morning comes (or at least 4am).

Thanks sister... you knew just what I would need.

01 July 2007

Emirates - The Airline

It's official. We are coming home to deliver the baby. And it just so happened that the cheapest tickets are on one of the nicest airlines ever!! Emirates is based out of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf. We've flown with them before and it was like a dream...

Anyway, once the tickets were booked, Mike started doing some research on the airline. Well, mostly on the airline's award winning entertainment system. (Number one in the world in 2006). Each seat has it's own screen with billions of channels (seems like), and even video games and trivia vs. the other passengers!

So, he quickly plopped on the bed, face to my expanding tummy, and proceeded to tell our son all about the fun he'll have on the plane. He paused, and then said "Well, you won't have so much fun on the flight on the way there, cause you'll still be hanging out in the belly... but on the way back you and I can stay up all night watching movies and playing video games..."

Can't wait to see my husband playing video games with our 4 week old son on a 14 hour trans-continental flight...

he he

25 June 2007

Rain?

We're sitting at our desk working away. I hear a strange noise and we look up at each other.

"What's that noise?" I ask
'It's raining" Mike replies nonchalantly
"It's WHAT?!"
"It's raining."

So, I shove the curtain back and sure enough... it's raining. I did what any girl (or maybe just me) would do in Africa in the middle of summer. (After all, it hasn't rained in months, and I endured a six hour power cut earlier in the day...) I quickly ran out to the back courtyard, and stood in the rain. Even turned my face up to feel the lovely wetness on my head.

Then I looked down at my nice pale pink shirt and I realized that it was not actually raining rain. It was raining mud.

After a few moments of trying to get my head wrapped around the fact that my shirt and probably my face and all the rest of me was now covered in drops of mud... I sheepishly went inside, washed my face and changed my shirt.

So much for a nice refreshing shower...

20 June 2007

My Kind of Game

Mike likes games. All kinds of games. Lately he's been spending some free time seeing what kind of free 'flash' games he can play on the internet. Last night he decided to find a game that I would like to play. For awhile we sold lemonade at a 'lemonade stand' and then we came across one that is JUST my kind of game.

The goal is to cut a certain amount of cookies out of a sheet of cookie dough! The head-baker-man tells you on each level how many you must cut, and how many times you are allowed to re-roll the dough.

I hate to admit that we took turns cutting virtual cookies out of virtual cookie dough for probably an hour. But I did pretty well and we had a really good time! I have about 20 years of baking experience to thank for my high score... I had a few things to teach Michael about proper cutter rotation and maximum dough usage. And some people say that 'home-economics' is of no value...
he he

That reminds me... I wanted to make some cookies today! I should go thaw out that dough!

If you're not too ashamed, you can go to this site to try the game out for yourself. No one will have to know...
http://www.addictinggames.com/cookiecuttertwisted.html

warning: it's slightly addictive (and makes you crave cookies too!)

18 June 2007

He Did What?!

Fresh tomatoes, onions, lime juice, garlic, pepper, salt, oregano, olive oil... FRESH SALSA!!!!

Mike did it all! Delicious!!!

He never ceases to amaze me...

13 June 2007

Visitors

Today we hosted nine visitors! Seven of them were unexpected (and came at the most un-expected times, of course!). And at one point there were three separate groups of guests in the house at the same time. You can imagine the glances my husband and I were giving each other from across the room as the doorbell kept ringing and we kept bringing in more chairs!!

You never know when answering the door if it's gonna be a old man wanting money, a young man dropping off the phone bill, a little boy asking for ice, or a friend with her baby who will come in and stay for hours!

Aside from dirtying lots of drinking glasses and challenging our patience and knowledge of Arabic, These unexpected visits remind us that we are being accepted by those around us! And although along with the acceptance comes many awkward silences... it also brings joy.

The day ended huddled around family photos by candlelight (and headlamp light) with sweets and coffee cups around the kitchen table. Our neighbors came for dinner... of course the electricity went out in the middle of the meal and we were all dripping sweat, but we had a fabulous time visiting. Mike in the courtyard talking politics, and us ladies in the kitchen talking family and babies...

I always worry so much about 'events' like the one we had tonight, but God is faithful, and it is becoming easier to connect into the lives with those around us.

Could someone just remind me of that the next time the doorbell rings?...

22 April 2007

Ice Suppliers

So, there is a family that lives on the roof of the building we live in. They are a young local couple with 3 small kids.

A couple months ago the Mom came to the door to ask for some ice. It was because her baby had a fever I think. Then a little later she asked for more... for a burn maybe?

Then she started sending down her little sister to gather ice from us a few times... with no explanation. And today, I open the door after a hearty knock, and it's the 3 year old boy holding a thermos up above his head... looking at me with his big brown eyes. He didn't say anything, and I'm used to this routine now. "Dagigga" I say (Just a minute)... and I go fill up the bucket with ice.

The breakthrough though... is that this little boy has for a LONG time burst into tears when he sees me in the stairway. Sometimes, if I try to shake his hand he will burst into tears and run for cover.

But today, I think we finally hit a turning point in our relationship...

10 April 2007

Summer

Summer is here. And that is not said with glee like a young child finishing the last day of school dreaming of summer swimming pool trips and evenings at the ball field.

Woke up, stood up, and the sweating began.

A friend said it reached at least 110 degrees in his compound... in the shade, not the sun. In the sun, my estimate is that it must be about 210 degrees. he he Still has at least 10 or 15 more degrees to climb before peak summer temperatures are reached.

Another friend (a medical doctor from the UK who has lived here for 7 years) said that medically, she's not quite sure how it's possible to live each day in such temperatures. But somehow we manage to stay alive.

And there are the other 'joys' of summer... they cut off all the water, then they cut off all the electricity (today at the same time). And currently we are being blessed with a large dust-storm.

Anybody wanna come visit?? Didn't think so.
:)

08 April 2007

Easter

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

I grew up sharing this greeting at church on Easter Sunday mornings. This morning we shared this same greeting as we celebrated Christ's resurrection on the beachy bank of the river at sunrise this morning. How comforting it was to me...

Today was a good Easter day. Not like any other Easter, but good. After the early morning worship service concluded and we all stood up off our mats to brush the sand off of ourselves, we shared a community breakfast. Homemade cinnamon buns (no frozen ones here!), fresh fruit, coffee, egg-wraps... yum!! Great fare for a pregnant girl who doesn't cook much lately! For a long time everyone stood out on the beach chatting and laughing together. Kids (and adults too) made sculptures in the sand; "He is Alive!" one read. The sun rose higher in the sky and soon it wasn't comfortable to stand in the heat any longer. We packed into the vehicles and headed home.

We had a quiet break before we went to celebrate again with our house church. Once again, there as an amazing spread of food (people really pull out all the stops for Easter lunch!) and kids running everywhere. We then sat together and to share from our hearts what God has been teaching us through this most Holy Week and worshiped together with songs and prayers. Followed by, of course... much more chatting and laughter.

I feel so joyful today. Joyful to have good friends around when family is so far. Joyful to have food and laughter to share. Joyful to celebrate this day... this most VERY special day. The day that all of history was waiting for. The day that has changed MY life and the lives of all human-kind forever.

Thank you, dear Lord Jesus Christ, for coming to die for me, that I might be washed of my sin; that I might be made pearly white before the Father's throne. And thank you, precious Jesus, that you overcame death. You and are so very alive today in my heart and you are so very alive in every seemingly dark corner of this world that is so dear to your heart. Thank you for your sacrifice...

14 February 2007

Airport

(Written two nights ago)

As I sit in the parking lot of the airport late at night waiting for Mike and our friend to bring gas back for our apparently empty fuel tank (gas gauge broken)... a man in uniform is strolling around with an AK-47.

Should I feel safe or endangered? Not sure.

In my head I work out what I will say to him when he comes to question why I am hanging out at the back of the parking lot at midnight. "Ma fi benzine. Rajili ja hassa ma9a benzine"... but he never comes to inquire why I'm sitting here.

This is another reason to wonder... should I feel safe or endangered?

Not sure.

04 January 2007

Kings and Kingdoms

The Old Testament tells many stories of kingdoms rising and falling. Just rulers, wise rulers, evil rulers. But never is our God apathetic to what is happening among His people. He is involved. He cares. He speaks.

He guides the kingdom to and fro: into this land and out of that land; under this ruler and then under that one; bringing famine; bringing bounty. It's an effort to allow the people, all kings and kingdoms, to live in uprightness... to help them stay in His will and walk into the purposes He desires for them.

Sometimes His ways seem harsh. Sometimes they seem gentle and loving. But His heart is always pure. His actions come from a heart understanding discipline, justice and love. He doesn't hesitate to reduce a once strong nation led by a not-quite-up-to-par-of-what-God-expected-of-him man down into a small band of followers. He also doesn't mind rewarding a king with great wisdom when that is what He asks for. He even loves to do crazy things like make a city fall to the ground after it's marched around for a week. He just hopes that people will finally GET IT that He wants to be first in their lives. That He is big enough and great enough and full of so much love that there could be nothing better FOR His people than to make Him first in their lives.

Is this not the same way He deals with us today? Guiding us to and fro. Whispering into our thoughts what His thoughts are. Changing our circumstances to teach us a lesson. Moving our location to open our eyes. Challenging us in little ways to step out in faith. Doing present-day miracles to increase our belief. He's involved in all of our lives, whether we realize it or not. He's in the tiny details and in the big things too. I think He is willing to do just about anything to get our attention. He wants us to see that He's here beside us. He's not in some lofty position out of reach. He's on our tiny little human level. He just wants our hearts to be with Him. His desires that "our hearts must be fully committed to the Lord our God..." This is "so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other." (1 Kings, chapter 8)

I know I have a really long way to go. Lord Jesus... how I long to be fully committed to you. With my heart, my soul, and my mind...
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