23 December 2008

Malaria

Many people say that you can't catch malaria in this part of the country. I used to be one of them. I was wrong. It had me in bed for three days straight. Miserable, miserable malaria.

However, there were a few highlights to my few horizontal days.

1. Laying in a comfy bed on my balcony in the early morning, wrapped in a quilt with the cool breeze blowing, birds singing, blue sky overhead, listening as my downstairs neighbor played his guitar on his veranda. (No, he didn't know I was there… and I won't tell him either! Wouldn't want to embarrass him…)

2. Explaining to Mike step by step how to make a batch of banana bread from scratch. ("Are these bananas too black?" "What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda?" "Do you really think it's a good idea for me to use the electric mixer?" "Where is the measuring cup?" "Is this a tablespoon or a teaspoon?" "How do I know if they're done baking?") I think it might have taken him four times longer than it takes me, but he was very cute!

3. My boy learning to rub my back. He's totally mimicking EVERYTHING we do, and so when I was laying on the couch and Mike was rubbing my back... H was too!

4. Oh, the last highlight. Thee jeans (you know... the favorite pair of jeans that you are always wanting to fit perfect again? Always aspiring for? Mine are the American Eagle faded blue jeans that my best friend and I bought the same pair of sophomore year of college. Umm, does that mean they're outdated? Oh, nevermind that.) Anyway.... Thee jeans didn't require any sucking-in to button today. I know, I know... this highlight can be seen as controversial. Should I really rejoice that my jeans fit better? I mean I was very very sick and very very miserable for awhile, haven't been eating much for a couple weeks, really...

Okay ladies... don't even try to tell me you haven't thought the same thing about your pair of thee jeans after you've been sick and puking for a few days… at least some good comes of it, huh?

Anyway, now I've joined many others in the ranks of malaria veterans. Red Cross's blood donation centers can kiss me goodbye forever. I guess I should have known it would happen someday. I am the one that gets a thousand mosquito bites when I'm totally covered from toe to chin when Mike is next to me sleeping in a pair of shorts with no sheet and no bites. Sweet blood they say. Whatever. My time had to come, I suppose.

14 December 2008

Hurtling Towards Oblivion

I listened to a podcast from Focus on the Family a couple weeks ago. It was an interview with Author/Physician/Futurist who wrote this book: Hurtling towards Oblivion: A Logical Argument For the End of the Age. He is a believer, but his ideas are not based on the Bible. They are based on his study of the past and the present. However, his ideas do certainly line up with Revelation.

Instead of trying to figure out how to explain it myself, I will take the words out of Kendal B. Hunter's most helpful customer review from the book on amazon.com (changed a little by me!). Thanks Kendal B.!

So what is Dr. Swensen's point? His is a voice of warning that several factors or trends are working together to cause serious havoc on the world-system. These trends are:

1) PROFUSION: More and more of everything. Inventions, technologies, people, etc.
2) IRREVERSABILITY: We cannot undo what we have done.
3) EXPONENTIAL GROWTH: This more and more of everything is happening faster and faster, so we are getting more and more of the original "more and more." This is on an exponential J-curve.
4) FALLENESS FACTOR: Things go wrong, or can be misused. Even though a lot of the new inventions and technologies, etc. are good, there is always a possibility that these things can be misused for evil.
5) EXPONENTIAL PROFUSION OF EVIL: With all of these factors working together, we not only have a profusion of good (i.e. More educated people, more TVs and CT-scan machines), but he also have an EXPONENTIAL PROFUSION OF EVIL.
6) At some point this EXPONTIAL PROFUSION OF EVIL can overwhelm the world. For example, it becomes easier for a smaller group of people to do extreme harm to a much larger group of people.

Make sense?

So, I'm gonna be honest here. I don't think about stuff like this often, and I don't know if the world is gonna end in my child's lifetime (Swenson thinks it probably will, but no promises), but when I heard this guy on the 'radio'... I understood what he was saying. He has a pretty good argument. Each point is hardly refutable (in my opinion), and each one builds on the other to reach his conclusion. I kinda see it like this: If in the year 1000, humanity was crawling towards the end of the world, then now (because of points 1-5) we are now, comparitively, flying towards the end of the world at the speed of light. I mean, we could just say "we are closer than ever to the end of the world," but that's kind of obvious and silly statement, isn't it?

But I think that Dr. Swenson could say all of this much better than Kendal B. or myself. So maybe I should shut up and we all should just all read his book. I mean, if you want to.
:)

Anyway... my FAVORITE thing about this topic is that it is just a reminder to me that this world (no matter what side of it I am living or how bad the 'profusion of eveil' gets) is NOT my permanent home. I am just passing through... looking towards my next (more long-term) home...

11 December 2008

KuKu and PooPoo

We finally reached the place after many turns down small dirty roads lined with metal gates. I am half surprised that we made it down that small alley without a punctured tire. We enter the home through the small door and my dear friend YuYu greets us. We are ushered through the courtyard to dark inner room. Three beds and two chairs are lined up around the walls. I take a seat on the edge of a bed and Mike sits in a plastic chair. Tomas sit with us and YuYu exits to prepare drinks. A few minutes later she carries in a tray. Two bottles of Pepsi and two bottles of water are served along with four glasses. All of it is for Mike and I and we'll be expected to drink it all (whether or not caffeine keeps me up at night!). We're lucky they didn't serve a third bottle of Pepsi for my boy to drink all by himself.

The next hour or more is spent chatting, passing around babies and chasing H around the few rooms that comprise the house. Conversation goes from the small property (75 years old and showing it) to the still-hot weather to church to America to the war to being a policeman (Tomas is). Other things too. Later we migrate outside to sit in the courtyard under a makeshift roof. YuYu hands me a guitar and tells me to play a song.

laughing... "What? Me? I don't know any songs?" (we're speaking Arabic)

"Oh, that's okay, I can bring you a songbook"
(she disappears into the house and reappears with a book in her hand.)

She hands it to me and I laugh again... "This is in Arabic! I can't read Arabic!"
"Sorry," I say, "I don't know any songs and I can't read Arabic!"

Oh well. Silly me, I thought one of them was gonna play the guitar for us!

We sit awhile longer. YuYu is in the small dank room unattached from the house used as a kitchen swarming with flies preparing a meal for us. KuKu sits on my lap, and I learn that tickling him under his chin produces a cute squeal of laughter. Then I hear a little noise and look down to learn that KuKu has poopooed on my pants. Mike runs into the house to fetch the bag with tissues and wipes. Tomas is embarrassed and yells for his wife to come. I just laugh and really don't care. However, I am reminded why diapers were invented.

Awhile longer of sitting and waiting, a large tray of food is set before Mike and I on a tiny table set between us. "Thank you, it looks delicious!" We say. As the others stand up to leave, we insist that we must all eat together, but it's no use, and their custom of leaving guests to eat alone wins. Tomas is sitting just around the corner from the small covered room and the women and children have disappeared inside.

It's a large silver tray, at least two feet in diameter, with various shallow bowls resting inside. There is a salad (tomato, onion, green pepper, and cucumber), a small pile of bread, a small dish of salt, lemon, and hot pepper, and a dish of cooked liver. I love to eat like this... all off one tray, tearing off a peice of bread and using it to pick up a bit of salad or a piece of meat to eat. And I love squeezing fresh lime juice on anything and everything. However, I don't love liver, and after one bite of that I am done. Mike manages to eat enough for both of us so our hosts won't be offended, although he doesn't like liver either.

After awhile, Tomas enters again, and (as expected) scolds us for not eating more. So, we take another piece of bread and eat more. He still says we didn't eat much, but we declare "We had enough, thank you" and stand to wash our hands in water from the barrel, signaling the completion of our meal. YuYu carries the tray back to the kitchen and I assume they will eat our leftovers for their evening meal.

We sit together a little while longer. KuKu is being cute, and 8 year old Eliza is carrying H around on her hip. She talks to him and he likes it. I stand and announce "We want to go now" and they insist our visit was too short (it's been nearly three hours now!). We share a prayer together and everyone shakes hands and says goodbye. I hope to see them again soon.

07 December 2008

Gata9

Today, the legs of my living room furniture were cut off (gata9)! It's been a long time coming. Ever since we bought them from a family leaving about 3 years ago, I have thought they were too high and would be much more comfortable (and feel less 'formal') if they were lower to the ground.


We tend to be project procrastinators here big time, mostly because little projects that would be cake in the states seem very large, daunting and difficult in this culture. God bless our friend who brought a power saw from Egypt and cut off all the legs in about half an hour!


What a difference two inches can make!


Anybody wanna come relax on my new and improved couch for a little book reading and tea sipping?

06 December 2008

I'm Dreaming...

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

Wow! We just watched this movie, and I thought I would remember it, but I didn't at all! I guess I haven't seen it since I was a kid and all I ACTUALLY remembered was the big poofy red dresses the ladies wear at the end. I really got into it! M only made it about halfway through (one man can only take so much 'impromptu' singing and tap dancing)! But I was sad it had to end.

How did I make it so far into my adulthood without watching this movie again?! The only thing that would have made it better would have been temperatures to warrant a steaming mug of hot chocolate...

01 December 2008

Dolls Fingers?

There are many interesting snacks around here. Each little store has a different selection of chips, candy bars, gum, etc. We like to try new ones! Today Mike brought me home a surprise: "Dolls Fingers Coated in Cholate." That's right... this snack is sweeping the country (not really!). What is cholate anyway? They tasted alright, but kind of like cheese-less cheese puffs with a little bit of chocolate. Not bad... but probably not gonna be a repeat buy. Not only the taste, but who REALLY wants to eat dolls fingers? I could think of a hundred better names for this snack...

:)

30 November 2008

Counter-top Companion

H is my counter-top companion. Washing dishes, cooking, baking... whatever I'm doing, he likes to do it too! Or he likes to watch the guys play football in the square out back, or he likes to open and close the windows, or he likes to grab the dishwashing liquid, or he likes to push things off the counter with his feet, or he likes to taste-test what I'm making, or he likes to play with lids to jars, or he likes to...

27 November 2008

Pumpkin Process

Today is pumpkin pie baking day... but the process must start ahead of time! No canned Libby's pureed pumpkin here, but thank goodness we have fresh pumpkin! It takes awhile to get it to the stage where you can bake with it, so here it goes!

Fresh pumpkin from the market. Luckily it's already sliced!















First I rinse it...



Then chop into smaller pieces...



Steam,



Scrape the good stuff of the skin...



And then blend with my handy dandy blender...




















and just like that... we have fresh pureed pumpkin ready for pie!















Happy Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie eating to all! We have SO much to be thankful for!

22 November 2008

First Cake

This is my son's first birthday cake! After looking at lots of ideas in books and on the internet, I ended up doing a design that I came up with on my own. Brightly colored kid shapes! I was really pleased with how it looked, but I am still working hard to try to find a white or yellow cake recipe that turns out light in this climate. It's hard!

Half Marathon

This morning my husband and three friends ran a half-marathon. They started running for exercise earlier in the year, then started officially training, and decided to top it off with a half-marathon! The 13 miles took them over 4 of the The Nile bridges in the city. My boy and I made up the proud fan club and water-team, meeting them outside the flat for water halfway, and then driving to meet them a little further along for more refreshment. We finished the morning with a fabulous brunch together! It was fun!

And, while we're on the topic of big accomplishments... today my son learned how to 'blow' when we wipe his nose.

Don't I have such talented men in my life?
he he

04 November 2008

Birthday Boy

Today H turned 1! It was a busy and fun day for our little toddler.

A day in the life of the birthday boy:

1. Woke up happy!

2. Time at the park with friends. He spent most of his time putting the water bottle around his neck and walking around.

3. Helping Mom with the laundry later in the morning. Once again, he spent most of his time putting laundry around his neck. This little boy really loves to put things around his neck... it's funny!

4. Opening his birthday Tonka trucks! Yay! Thanks!

5. Playing in his new froggie tent! Yay! Thanks!

6. Before his haircut... everyone has been telling me for months that he looks like a girl. I thought I would wait for his first bithday to cut his hair. Don't ask me why!

7. After his haircut. Wow! He really looks like a little boy now! Such a change!

8. Some cake and ice cream... everywhere!!

9. A fun after-cake bath on the balcony! Freedom to splash!

How blessed we are to have this boy. He has been so fun lately... toddling everywhere, mimicking us, making funny faces, loving people, full of silly antics, playing so well by himself and sleeping like a charm. what MORE could a mother ask for?

Not much... let me tell ya!

31 October 2008

Child Care

The other night Mike went to a prayer meeting. Child care was provided, so he dropped the baby off before and picked him up after. There were maybe a dozen other kids there.

When Mike walked into the room to retrieve our son, all the kids were happily watching a movie being projected on the wall. Mike scanned all the little ones for H but didn't see him. Then he laughed. All the kids were sitting on a mat starring up at the movie on the wall. He was sitting at the bottom of the wall under the movie and staring back at the kids.

He really loves to watch kids. More than movies, apparently.

How I love him.

26 October 2008

Moving

One day of packing pandamonium.
One day of hauling hell.
One day of arranging amusement.

Tomorrow... habitation happiness?

23 October 2008

Some Photos of the Littlest Man...

Can you believe he'll be one in a week and a half? Of course, he is walking to the closet to hide in it, brushing his teeth (kinda), looking cute in his PJs, and getting big scrapes on his face.

He's my boy!

18 October 2008

Four Stops

Tonight we spent the evening with friends. We made four stops...

First stop: Walk along the Nile. The sun was setting and it was nice! The bumpy 'sidewalk,' overgrown shrubbery and mud puddles made it a little less enjoyable... but nice nonetheless.

Second stop: A new hotel in the city. Opened a month ago. Crazy expensive... 400 bucks a night. We felt like we were in a different world. The place was gorgeous! They had a number of different restaurants and lounges, a beautiful lobby and even a hookah garden! Too bad that you have to pay $3,250 a year just to use the pool. But a girl can dream, right?

Third stop: Roadside juice bar. These are common here. Fresh squeezed juice! Mango, banana, orange, grapefruit, grape, apple... take your pick and expect it to be blended with half a cup of sugar. $2 a cup... now this is more our price range!

Fourth stop: The new 5 pound shop! ($2.50). Let me tell you... this is revolutionary! 'Fixed prices' are rare in our part of the city, as are 'one-stop-shops'! This shop had clothes, candles, toys, dishes, dustpans, tupperware, plastic baskets, party supplies, tote bags, hair dye, disposable razors, mirrors, and so much more! The only item I purchased was a new toilet bowl brush... but I'll be back for more fixed-price shopping soon!

16 October 2008

Let My Hair Down

Today I let my hair down. Literally. The weather has SLOWLY started to cool down. It's still 102 out, but for some reason it feels cooler. Maybe the humidity is dropping now. Who knows.

All I know is that I wear my hair down about 1 out of every 200 days. Looks like it's ponytails for another 199 days.

12 October 2008

A long visit

My ex-house-helper came for a long visit the other morning. She started working for me a couple years ago, and during that time got married, got pregnant, and now had her first child! (that's why she is my ex-house-helper.) She knew we were back in the country so she stopped over with her son to say hello! She stayed longer than I expected, but we managed to visit for a few hours about this and that (all in Arabic!). KuKu was a sweet, sweet boy and I was so happy to meet him! He smiled at me with his big gummy smile and then took a long nap cuddling with a couch pillow.

09 October 2008

Oh no.

So, it's about time to switch H out of his infant seat (okay, okay... it's probably way PAST time to switch him out of his infant seat). So I dug out the big kid car seat that was given to us and was about to wipe the layer of dust on it when I saw on the back it says. "Do not use after December 2005." Expiration date?

WHAT?! Did you know this? I did not!!

A marketing ploy... for sure, right?


Nope. Turns out car seats expire. Mostly due to material deterioration. Oops. Only made worse from storing car seat in hot temperatures. Double oops. The websites say that such a car seat should be hit with a sledge hammer so that no one ever tries to use it again.

Further investigation on the internet led me to some more links. And then I did what no mother should ever do. I followed a link to a test crash with a (plastic) child in an expired car seat on YouTube. Don't do it mothers. Just don't.


So, I guess my expired seat is better than me always holding my son in my lap in the front seat (like the locals do... and I do to sometimes, let's be honest!). And, at least there are no freeways to drive on. Gotta look on the bright side... cause it's all we've got!!

06 October 2008

Negotiations

Today M did some serious negotiations with our soon-to-be landlord.  After days of wavering, we decided to go ahead with the big flat with huge veranda.  We wavered because the place needs A LOT of work.  But we are familiar with the place and so we know what we are getting ourselves into.  I would have liked to have a nicer place (with nice ceramic tiles instead of yucky old cement ones, and efficient air coolers, etc.)... but I kept thinking "At least they'll be no more surprises."

Housing is a struggle here, it seems you never know what you're gonna get until you've lived in it for one year.  

The first place we rented was a really nice flat north of town.  It was great in most every way except that it was too far away from the center of our city and the driving back and forth was too much.   So we moved.

The second place we rented was a smaller, older house much closer to the center of town.  But last spring ants came pouring out of the floor and walls making our lives stingy and frustrating.  So now we need to move.

The new place has good and bad things about it... but either way, at least we know what we're getting ourselves into.

At the end of negotiations, we agreed to pay 30 dollars more a month than we would have liked, but the landlord agreed to pay for the whole house to be painted and for a water pump to be installed (tenants have to pay all upkeep and improvements unless negotiated otherwise).  We have one month to get it ready before we move in and start paying rent.  So we are pretty happy!

But... ask me again in one year...

30 September 2008

Fifteen

Today I unpacked our family's luggage for the fifteenth time in the past three months. Previously each 'unpack' was quickly followed by another pack. But this time there is no more 'pack' in the foreseeable future.
whew.

15 September 2008

Big Cuz, Little Cuz

Cousins H and D got to know each other today. My baby (looking so big here) really loves his baby cousin and gave him lovies!

14 September 2008

Little Bundle

A most precious little boy arrived into the world today. Baby D made his appearance at 1pm today... weighing 9 pounds and 1 ounce. He was long awaited... making his Mama and Dad wait a few (ahhemm... NINE) extra days. But boy... was he worth the wait or what?!

I am so thrilled to be his Aunty. Can't wait to know him and love him forever and ever and ever and ever.

10 September 2008

Brrrrrr

This morning we woke up to frigid temperatures... mid 50's! Well, I love fall... so as soon as my boy went down for his morning nap, I rushed out to the porch with fleece hoodie, fuzzy blanket, steaming, sweet, frothy drink, and my Bible. Birds chirping, locusts humming their sweeping sound from the tops of the trees, and the sun shining through the leaves. All observed from my cozy refuge cuddled under the blanket.

It was glorious! I am so glad to have a taste of fall before we return home!

30 August 2008

Another Sweet Creation

These are the two cakes (and chocolate covered pretzel rods) that I decorated for my dear sister's baby shower a month ago. Mmmnnn, I could eat them all over again!

What a special day that was...

29 August 2008

Vacuuming

Today I decided to vacuum my sister's house. It's quite a lot of carpet and wondered what I would do with the baby to keep him out of my way and happy. So I popped him in a walker (which he can't walk in cause the carpet is too thick) and put him where he could see me. Turns out he LOVES to watch me vacuum! For almost an hour his little head went back and forth and back and forth watching me vacuum room after room. I'd say his neck is warmed up to watch some tennis! He even had cheerios and apple juice as refreshments. At least there is one housekeeping thing I can do with a little squirt awake in the house!

Of course, we won't have this joy at my house... we don't have carpet, let alone a vacuum!
:)

27 August 2008

Last Week

Last week we spent some down time in Arizona with friends. H and his partner-in-crime S had a great time exploring a new place. They found a lot of things to get into... but they sure look cute doing it, wouldn't you say?


14 August 2008

Crusty Nose

Let's admit it... before you're a Mom and you see a little kid with a crusty, snotty nose, you think "Sick... why doesn't the Mom clean up that crusty snotty nose?!... I'll never let my kid go around with a crusty snotty nose."

Well, I repent for my judgmental thoughts. My baby has his first cold ever, and not only has been going around with a crusty, snotty nose... but there are also some very yucky adult sized boogers in there. And I don't really care. He usually puts up such a fuss when it gets wiped and it would need to be wiped again about 45 seconds later, so what's the point?

So, if you happen to see my precious boy anytime soon... I apologize for the crusty snotty nose. If you're a mom (or grandma or loving aunty), you'll understand.

11 August 2008

The Latest Thing...

H's latest thing is to pull things out of containers, off of shelves, etc. This morning he pulled all of M's clothes out of his drawer, then he pulled all the stuff out of his diaper bag and all the toys off his shelf. This afternoon he worked on emptying the hamper and this evening he pulled all the magnets off a friend's fridge. It's pretty fun to watch.

But I wonder why it's not nearly as fun to put everything back IN the drawer?...

07 August 2008

Cozy Cuddle

I was sorting pictures, and found this sweetest shot of M cuddling H after a short swim a few weeks ago. Look at those blue eyes!

21 June 2008

On the Move...

We're on the move. Terminals, airports, taxis, guest houses, foreign cities, new places... a recipe for ADVENTURE!

Never done a trip like this with a squirmy 8 month old before (duh)! We'll see how it goes. Despite all the stress of leaving and traveling with a baby, it's nice to feel that for a few moments... everything is organized and in it's place. My home is left in good order behind me, and all that I need is either sitting beside me (my hubby), in my arms (my son), invisible around me (my Jesus) or in the overhead compartment (my oh-so-necessary lor'eal face creme and swimsuit).
:)

Bahrain, Oman, Dubai... then the lovely U.S. of A. Here we come!!

11 June 2008

The Family Park

We ventured to the Family Park across the river around sunset. Two pounds each got us in, and the baby was free. Deserted buildings and rusty rides didn't look too promising. But further in...
the place seemed to come alive.




Families were sitting on mats strewn on the green grass under tall trees. Kids threw beach balls, ladies chatted, fathers played with their little ones. Local baked goods, cotton candy, ice cream cones, and local tea and coffee were all being offered by local entrepreneurs. We walked the entire perimeter... to see what there was to see. A fresh juice stand with tables and chairs overlooking the river. A line of kids enjoying a big slide the shape of an elephant. Young couples quietly chatting on benches. Kids scraping their money together for just one more ride ticket. Men lounging around reading the paper near the broken bumper-cars ride. Entire families huddled around bowls of beans sharing their dinner together...

We found ourselves a place to spread our sheet and plopped down. H quickly scooted off the sheet to explore the funny green stuff growing out of the ground (and see what it tasted like). We watched the tilt-a-whirl whirl and tilt as little kids and grown men alike climbed aboard and went spinning away, screaming all the while. I contemplated if I would prefer to be on the roller coaster if it broke (just falling mostly straight down to the ground) or be on the tilt-a-whirl if a car flew off (launching me either into the air or straight into the ground). I decided I'd prefer to be on the roller coaster... you know... if I had to choose which one to be on when it broke.



We got up our nerve and decided to ride the Ferris Wheel. Becoming like the locals, we threw all thoughts of queuing out the window and pushed ourselves to the front of the 'line.' We climbed in, handed over our tickets, and they turned the big wheel once. Then they decided that our small car was not full enough and put two young men in with us. One of whom was very LARGE. The circular seat was a bit small for the 4.5 of us, and I could see the fear in Mike's eyes. With a death grip on the baby we rode around for about 30 minutes (they're a little slow on the load and unload aspect of the ride). I made a special effort to make no sudden movements... in hopes that the small car wouldn't rock too much.

Lucky for me, the young guys had some snazzy cell phones and although they spoke no English we had an enjoyable soundtrack of Celine Dion and Backstreet Boys (don't judge me because of my taste of music). I couldn't help but laugh when the big guy was singing along with Celine in his falsetto voice. Did he know what he was singing about?

Finally the ride ended and tenderly climbed down. After a little more sitting in the grass and sipping soda out of glass bottles, we called it a night... I called it a very successful night. I want to go back soon!

10 June 2008

"The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up"

The first rains always take us by surprise. It never fails that we leave windows open, leave chair cushions outside, forget to open water-drainage grates, and do other absent-minded things that we regret later. Today was the day. Rainy season has begun. It rained for a few hours this afternoon and the city is already drowning. Entire streets become lakes, cars get stuck in mud, roofs leak, etc. This city is definitely built for sand, not rain.

And even though rainy season adds a whole new set of challenges to life here... it's kind of refreshing at the same time. We were out when the rains came and by the time we were home we were all filthy and drenched.

I decided that my baby may as well have a little splash in the big mud puddle that is our courtyard now. I think he enjoyed it. I enjoyed it too.

Another Confession

Most mornings, I make H oatmeal and banana with milk for breakfast. And I like it SO much that I spoon it into his mouth each morning secretly wishing that he won't eat it all so that I can finish it for him.

30 May 2008

A Day of Study

I spent many hours today with a pen over my ear, my nose in a book, my laptop in front of me... scribbling on one sheet of paper all kinds of notes and questions.

The focus of my studies? Infant vaccinations.

Controversy has grown in the last few years and as a new parent I want to educate myself as we make decisions for our child.

The main concerns are the possible side-effects of vaccines (of which autism is center stage at the moment), the necessity of certain vaccines, the ingredients in some vaccines (questionable ones including animal cells, mercury and aluminum), and the timing of vaccines.

The general conclusion that I came to at the end of the day is that ideally all the vaccines would be given... but spread over a few years instead of the first 18 months. However, our situation is unique and will probably mean my boy will have a more rigorous vaccine schedule than I would like.

It's such a dilemma though, because if you choose not to vaccinate y0ur child, you are taking a risk that he could catch something serious. But if you do vaccinate your child, you are risking those rare but dangerous side effects that do occasionally happen. Either way I hate thinking about it!

Or as my husband so eloquently mentioned..."Damned if you do, damned if you don't."

Anyway, all this conjures up such feelings of responsibility and worry and love for my little son. I'm a parent responsible for the life of this precious boy. This is serious stuff.

If you'd like to study for yourself... I highly recommend Dr. Sear's The Vaccine Book. It gives a very informative and non-bias view on the entire topic. Read for yourself. I was certainly educated and enlightened.

26 May 2008

Little Buddies

Awhile back we were sitting outside eating dinner. My boy was sitting with us in his chair. As we are chatting, M turns to him and in the same I'm-talking-with-a-little-baby-voice that one would say... "Are you playing with your feet?" or "You're SOOOOOOO big!!" M says to him... "Are you playing with your flies?"

Needless to say... there were quite a few flies around. And apparently they are now my baby's little buddies.

23 May 2008

The Solution

My son started drinking water awhile ago. It's a good thing cause the poor kid sweats baby-sized buckets. We've tried a regular cup and a sippy cup. The regular cup just drenches the front of him with water and the sippy cup gets gnawed on like a dog bone. So we have to use a bottle. But he loves to drink water and wants to drink it all day and night. Baby sleeps in a 90+ room with a fan blowing on him from only a few feet away, so no one can blame him for wanting to wet his whistle sometimes in the night.

This morning, the power cut at 4:30. It was HOT. The air was humid, thick, and standing still. We all woke up miserable. M brought me a couple cold water bottles from the fridge that I tucked behind my neck and against my chest... this took the edge off for me. But little H wasn't too comfortable either. So we took turns caring for him... giving him his cork, a drink of water, etc.

Anyway... over lunch today, we were chatting about how for a few nights now we have been getting up to give him a drink of water in the night and how we don't really want to condition him to wake up for a drink of water. We were considering different options when the perfect solution hit me. We could hang one of those gerbil water bottles over the edge of his crib. Then he could just help himself.

What do you think? Call me crazy, but I think it would work!!

22 May 2008

Gooey Baby

H is chowing down on his homemade teething biscuit. I didn't realize that he's need a full bath after each chewing session.

21 May 2008

Pizza

I have recently been on a quest to create the perfect pizza (or maybe not perfect... but just a really good one!). So far I haven't succeeded. Anyway... tonight as I was trying a new pizza dough recipe... it instructed to let the dough rise in a warm place... 75-85 degrees.

Uh oh.

I looked at Mike, and he smiled and said... "Well, I guess you could put it in the fridge."

17 May 2008

Lighten the Mood

Last weekend things were a little tense around here. When discussing the advantages of a satellite phone, my husband suggested instead that we just get an 'escape pod.' The pod could be stored under our house. When we felt it necessary to use the pod, we could move a picture on the wall and hit the red button that would bring the escape pod above ground. We could all then climb in, strap up, and hit yet another red button to launch us into space. We would then land safely on the moon.

Sound good?

Question. Is it really safe to land on the moon?
Question. If it is safe to land on the moon, could I also use the escape pod when the water and electricity are both cut at the same time in the heat of summer?

06 May 2008

Name Suggestions

My sister teaches math at a city school in North Carolina. Her 7th grade students were eager to offer name suggestions for baby boy. Including: Fresh, Unnell, Grace (yes for a boy), Jaquavious, Math, and Showyourwork.

The last one is hysterical to me! Even I can hear my long string of math teachers in the back of my head... "Show your work, Show you work!" Now my sister is that 'voice' in many other kids' heads!
He he

I admire their enthusiasm, but needless to say... my sis will not be choosing any one of these very 'unique' names!

03 May 2008

Par-tay

A neighbor is getting married and a PAR-TAY is about to get started! There was a party for women two nights ago in their house. There was a party last night with a small tent and a live singer in the street. There is a party starting soon with the mother-of-all-tents blocking the whole road! We can't pull our car into our courtyard cause there are poles and all sorts of tent parts, plastic chairs, and fancy lights blocking the way!

I just returned from walking through the market about an hour ago. And to reach my gate we had to walk by a large circle of women beginning to celebrate. One or two were playing djembes and some others were singing together. My boy had everyone's attention, and his rosy little cheeks were of course... pinched!

We were invited to come back and join the party (which is still not really started yet at 8pm). The bride and groom have not arrived yet, and neither has the DJ or the video camera men who set up their big screens to feed live video onto. I'd like to join the festivities, but my boy is already down for the night and I couldn't possibly get him up to take him. Everyone would love to see him, but he may go deaf from the loud music and he may spit up his whole dinner on some nice lady because she was throwing him in the air too many times.

Anyone wanna come babysit so I can go snap my fingers and eat some cold meat with the other ladies?

28 April 2008

Riding in the Cart

There are only a couple stores in the whole country that are nice enough to have shopping carts. We went to one of them to buy some laundry detergent last week and the first-timer got to sit in the cart! I think he liked it!

22 April 2008

Today is Earth Day

We have two patches of dirt in our courtyard that add up to about 20 square feet. Earlier this week I dug up half of it to serve as a compost pit. I never thought of myself as a composting sort of girl.

Never say never, huh?

Have you thought about what you could do to be a better steward of this planet God has entrusted to us?

21 April 2008

Big Man, Little Man

The other day when the ironing was done and I was sorting everything out to put away... next to M's big button up shirt was H's teeny tiny button up shirt. I liked seeing them side by side. Don't you?

18 April 2008

A Third Way You Can Tell It's Summer...

You can take two to three showers in one day and still feel dirty, sweaty and gross.

17 April 2008

My Little... NEPHEW!! He's a Boy!

I was blown away by these ultra-sound pictures! Baby is only 9 ounces in my sister's belly... but look at his hands and feet!! I could have also shown a VERY clear picture that shows that he is most definately a boy... but I thought I should pass. I wouldn't want him to dislike his Aunty because she posted naked pictures of him online!

16 April 2008

Two Facts

Two un-related facts...

Random Fact #1: Today's temperature marked the all-time-high this year (so far). 105 degrees in the shade. It was a scorcher.

Random Fact #2: I think my son is breaking his first tooth.

What do these two things have to do with each other? Read on.

Tonight, I put a frozen teething ring in H's crib with him in case he wanted something to chew on besides his hand. He fell asleep with it. But it's not in his mouth... he fell asleep hugging it to his body.

Um... is this a sign that it's too hot in my child's room? He fell asleep hugging a plastic ice cube!!
yikes!!

13 April 2008

Green?

I have never called myself 'green.' But an article I read recently sure did make me think...

"
Our Oceans Are Turning Into Plastic . . . Are We?", by Susan Casey. (click article name to read article)
Found in Best American Magazine Writing 2007.

It starts like this... " A vast swath of the Pacific, twice the size of Texas, is full of a plastic stew that is entering the food chain. Scientists say these toxins are causing obesity, infertility...and worse."

Warning. After reading this you may:
1. Forever be considering how many nurdles are in your soup.
2. Be shocked when you realize how many plastic products you use on a regular basis (I was).

12 April 2008

Confession

I have a confession to make...

Every time I strip my sweet boy down to give him a bath, I stop by the full-length mirror on the way from his room to the bathroom to look at his naked little bum while I'm holding him. I like his naked bottom so much!

09 April 2008

My Plants

The other day I decided that our courtyard was too small for all the potted plants that sit out there. So I choose two large and one small one to move and had Mike put them in the street on either side of our gate... I thought maybe they would look 'welcoming.'

Within five minutes the man from two gates down rang the bell and asked if we wanted them. Mike told him "Yes, my wife thinks they look beautiful out here," and the man left. Within the next hour one of them disappeared. It was the ugliest one, so that was okay. We actually got a kick out of picturing someone grabbing that huge pot and hurrying down the street with it. Anyway, I quickly wired the other two to a pole. It wasn't a lock and chain or anything, but at least it would send the message that we did actually want the plants to stay there. I was pleased with how they looked.

In the morning I was happy to see they were still there, but I noted that the leaves looked a bit thin. The morning after that the leaves off the big plant were all gone and the small plant was gone in its entirety (but the pot was still there).

It took a minute to register. Of course. No wonder no one else has plants sitting outside their gates. The neighborhood goat eats them. That silly goat that wanders the street ate my plants.

I quickly unwound the wire from the plants. Now I would be thrilled if someone would walk off with them. No luck yet. One empty pot and one plant with just some scrawny stems. Any takers?

02 April 2008

Tipsy Baby

He was doing really well sitting up until he saw something he wanted...
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