31 December 2009

Our Sweet Christmas Baby

As certain as I was that she was NEEEEVER gonna come out of my belly... our sweet daughter arrived a couple days ago.

Our baby girl was 8 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches at birth.

We are leaving the hospital shortly to go home and introduce her to her big brother and begin everyday life as a family of four.

We feel so blessed and honored to have added this little girl to our family and can't
wait to watch her grow!!

18 December 2009

Repeat Conversation

"H... do you know who is coming to visit soon?"

"Poppi, Home Depot, me?"

"Yes dear, Poppi will take you to home Depot. Do you know who else is coming to visit?"

"Gammi, read books, me?"

"Yes dear, I'm sure Grammi would love to read some books to you."

(We are ALL excited to see our fami
lies in the next few weeks! Whoo-hooo!)

16 December 2009

Sweet Preparations

I love to think ahead. Plan. Anticipate needs. Make preparations. Organize. These things bring joy to my heart! So it should be no big surprise that I have put lots of thought and effort into making preparations for our little girl's arrival. All of my boy's baby things are on the other side of the world so we had to start from scratch! God has really provided through family and friends giving, lending, and gifting us with things baby girl will need (and things that her Mama just WANTS her to have!). Thank you!!

And we have prepared a place for her. Kinda. Mike was the first one to call her a nomad... cause she really doesn't have a place of her own. We have extra bedrooms... but they are gonna be full of visitors (a good thing!!!). So, she has a corner of our room to call her own for now. And a basket of supplies that can follow her around. And her 'closet' is in the hallway! I love it though!

The preparations are done sweet girl! We are ready for you and we can't wait to meet you and share you with the world!

04 October 2009

Grasping at Straws

I have a hard time choosing baby names. I don't know if it's the endless number of names there are to choose from? Or maybe it is the fact that my child will have to live with this name for the rest of her life whether she likes it or not (unless she should have the NERVE to change her first name the moment she turned 18, which would so NOT be cool)!? Or just that all of this responsibility lies on my (and Mikey's) heads forever and ever amen?

I guess I've always been one who likes to know all my possibilities to make sure I'm choosing the very best option... and frankly it's just impossible to read through ALL possible names on the entire planet! Okay, okay... maybe I don't really want to consider names from the whole planet... I don't think a Chinese name would be very appropriate for an American girl living in Africa. That would just confuse people.

Anyway, I FINALLY managed to read A to Z in a very large baby name book. And I jotted down 103 of my favorite names. You know... just a few that caught my eye. Now, I admit that most of these names I just like and don't LOOOOOVE for my daughter... but what about possible future daughters? I wrote down any name that sparked my interest merely for the reason that I wouldn't have to read A-Z baby girl names EVER AGAIN! If I should ever conceive and bear another daughter... the beginning of the name 'leg-work' is already done. 102 to choose from for possible daughter number 2 (assuming we choose a name for current daughter from this list!). That is a heckuva lot less than the 324,655,758 I just read. And I like being ahead of the game. It brings peace and joy to my heart.

AAAANNY-WAAY... By the time I got to the end of the alphabet... the names were starting to get ridiculous. And I like weird names. I mean, those editors must have really been grasping at straws to fit in 'just a few more names' to their already seemingly endless list. Wava? Really? That is a name? And Xiao? It was noted alongside this name that it is Spanish in origin, and also that the meaning is unknown. Might I also add that the pronunciation of this name is unknown? Forget that we don't know what it means... HOW DO YOU SAY IT?!!

Yaa, Yepa, Zez, and Zone and a few other examples worthy of note. I mean, I even feel funny capitalizing the supposed name 'Zone.' What if she grew up to be a basketball player and played man-to-man and zone defense and then she had a fired up Dad on the sideline who was trying to remind her which kind of defense to play? You get the picture.

So, the list-narrowing-down will soon commence. And I pretty much can guarantee that 98.9 percent of the names, when proposed to my husband, will be met with a scowl. Or a confused look. Or a look of disbelief. Or a blank face. (No offense honey, but you're not too open minded about names.)

But in the end, we'll choose a name for our precious daughter, and we'll love it, and we'll love her forever and ever amen.

Bubble Gox

52. The house was 52 degrees when we woke up on Saturday! Burrr!! Actually, Mikey was all bundled in a quilt on the couch and I felt fine. This little heater in my belly is really keeping me warm!

Anyway... it was the day of the Harvest Festival... but it was so cold! So, we bundled up! I explained to H that it was cold so he had to wear more clothes than he EVER had in his entire life. (That would be a long-sleeve onesie, a sweater, a vest, and jeans) And that he would also get to wear two pairs of socks! Double socks!! Yay!!! I made it sound so fun!!

"Bubble gox?" he asks

"Yes dear, you get to wear double socks today because it's sooooooo cold outside!"

"Ohhh... bubble gox."

And that was the beginning of it. The end of it has yet to come! Since then it's been bubble gox
this and bubble gox that.

I love my boy and his bubble gox. He makes me smile.

He's One of Us

It was one of those afternoons. When I had things to do and H wanted to do them ALL right alongside me. So, when we went downstairs to do laundry and he didn't come back up with me... I asked no questions. Can you blame me really? He was playing alone! (and, I did know that there was nothing that could harm him down there!)

A little while later, the silence was killing me (and giving me LIFE all at the same time) and I decided I should investigate.

This is what I found.

Yes folks. My son is certainly is one of us. He's totally 'into' games as much as his Mommy and Daddy!

And, I'll have you know... I took this picture and then made no effort to stop his playing. Yes, I had a big mess to clean up later... but I think it was totally worth it! Not only for my peace and quiet but also so he could begin to formulate his Risk strategy.


13 September 2009

Joe (G.I. Joe, that is)

Yesterday Joe entered our lives for the first time. He was a party favor at a baby shower. I had no idea how quickly he would become part of our family.

Joe showed up at the breakfast table first thing in the morning, and I heard myself say "No, no... don't put Joe in your breakfast please, H."

Then I paused to contemplate the strange sentence I had so naturally just uttered.

But then, later in the day, disaster struck. Joe's leg fell off. Call the paramedics! We have to get him to the hospital!! He was inconsolable. Literally. He stood by while I frantically tried to re-insert Joe's leg into it's socket. "Joe, Joe!" The cries continued from my little boy. Tears rolled. His pleading eyes met with mine. He was trusting me to make him better. My heart broke in a thousand peices.

"Fix, Mama, Fix... JOOOOOOE" *sob, sob*

"Oh Mikey, if there has been anytime when we need you to be home... it's now!!" I thought.

"We need you!!!... JOE needs you!!"

Well, all the medical attention (and prayers) didn't work (really... we sat at the table, held hands, and prayed for Joe to be healed right before we said "Thank you Jesus for this dinner" and "Bless Daddy while he travels.")

Joe is now hidden on my boy's top bookshelf. My only hope is that my compassionate boy will forget about Joe until we can fix him or find a replacement Joe. *gasp* As if the Joe shaped hole in our hearts could ever be filled by just any plastic soldier...

Sundey Chair

Today is Sunday, and I decided it's time to spent a few hours in my Sundey Chair.

The tradition started a few years ago, when Mike and I settled into our little house just north of downtown for the first time. Sunday afternoon would roll around... he'd be tinkering around the house and I'd relax, read, snooze, and veg in my Sundey chair. Sometimes all day. It was glorious.

What makes a regular chair into a Sundey Chair? Well, first you must remove the cushion on the back. This makes it a really deep chair... perfect for sinking in and snuggling with a pillow and blanket. Second, you must stack all your supplies within arms reach. Books, computer, Sunday's ads, telephone, candle, and a hot drink are all necessary. Just so long as you don't have to get up for any reason. Any reason at all.

So, today... here I am... lounging, enjoying a couple hours I have before my peanut wakes up from his nap. My Sundey Chair doesn't see many visits from me these days... life's pace is a little different with a toddler... but oh, am I happy to be spending time here today...

23 August 2009

A Whole New Deal...

So, from what I hear, raising boys is totally different from raising girls. Well, we're about to do our own little experiment! Lord have mercy!

Our sweet Christmas baby is a little girl, and we are thrilled! Oh... to think of all the clothes shopping in my future! Of course, we will need to start saving for a wedding (although Mike's strategy is just to indoctrinate her her entire life that tiny, cheap weddings are the only way to go). But we'll see about that...

Here she is! In all her one-pound, 22 week cuteness.

And now begins the naming challenge...

11 August 2009

Big Boy in a Big Bed

My boy had his first night in a 'big boy' bed earlier this week. He was really excited during the day when I showed him his new bed. He loves that he can climb in all by himself.

He went to sleep with no problem, and when we checked on him before we went to to bed he was literally stretched out as much as possible (for a tiny tot). Arms straight up above his head and legs and feet stretched straight down. As if we'd been confining him in his crib and now he finally was FREE FREE FREE to stretch out.
he he

Anyway, I heard some noise at 4am and decided to take a peek. Somehow he had overcome the obstacle of the bed rail, fallen (or climbed) out of bed and was curled up on his tummy sound asleep on the hardwood floor.

Oh my goodness.

Luckily, since then... it's been going better. :)

29 July 2009

Our Little Reader

A few months ago, when we were in Africa, H had his nose stuck in books! MANY times a day the house would get really quiet and I would think "What is he up to?" Then I would find him sitting somewhere, 'reading' another book!

It hasn't been the same back here in the States, since there are always more people around than just Mommy, but I hope it's started something in him to love books forever like his Daddy and I do.


28 April 2009

Ants in His Pants

Today my son had ants in his pants. Literally.

I guess that's what I (he) get(s) for having him 'help' me make peanut butter cookies while he sat on the kitchen counter.

Sorry peanut. Your bum will feel better tomorrow. Promise. And I'll be more careful. Promise.

24 April 2009


I've been playing around with silhouettes. Actually, I have been trying for MONTHS to get a sharp silhouette photograph of my son. The right angle, the right lighting, and the most important... he needed to STOP MOVING. I know, impossible, right? Why even embark on such an impossible task?!

ANYway, I got it. And do you know what it took? A movie. I should have known. So simple.

Anyway, I finally got the shot and have been playing around in Photoshop. I was on my way to 'classic' silhouette, black on plain white, when I stumbled upon this.

It is just a work-in-progress on my Photoshop desktop, and I love it! I didn't purposefully add any of these elements for the sake of the 'composition', they are all just steps in the making! I think I'll still finish to get the classic look to see what I think, but this unique one might be the one that ends up on the wall.

21 April 2009

A Favorite

I've been trying to purge some digital photos. You know... the blurry ones, the lazy eye ones, the not-looking-so-good-AT-ALL ones that I will never miss. So that means I've been looking at a LOT of photos from the past few years.

And I came across this.

And I thought everyone should see it.

Cause it's just so beautiful.

My baby boy is just a day old, and I think he already knows he's found such a special lady in his Grammi... look at that sweet exchange between them! I love it!

15 April 2009


I sit in my roasting kitchen staring at this picture of a dear, precious baby boy. I can't stop looking at his chubby little face. Mannaseh was born 5 months ago to two amazing parents. They have given up so much to serve our Lord Jesus. They have overcome many obstacles in their past. When their son was born, his mother named him "He will make me forget" because it was his new little life that would bring joy to her heart and help her put so much pain behind her. He did just that.

But now, my husband is driving across the city to choose a patch of ground in the cemetery where Manasseh's little coffin will be laid. It's terrible. Devastating. Heart-wrenching. Maddening. Why should this special couple have to suffer MORE? It makes no sense. And I know what all the answers are supposed to be. And I don't care. I just want to see him in his Mama's arms again. I want my boy to have a chance to play with him as he grows up. I want to see his Dad's proud face as he holds him during the prayers. I want to balance him on my knee, get my very white face really close to his deep black face and try my hardest to get him to grin again.

I don't want to see his parents in an hour with empty arms as their firstborn lies in a coffin at the front of the church. I don't want to see them this evening with empty arms as we gather as a team to bear the weight of the grief together. I don't want to see them next week and next year... with empty arms when their son should be crawling, walking, giggling.

It's unbearable to think of the pain that has once again entered the hearts of his parents.

Lord Jesus, come back. There is too much hurt in this place. Please come back.

10 April 2009

It's Just Too Bad

It's just too bad when the visitor at your gate thinks she woke you up from a nap when really you've been up for hours.

07 April 2009

Ready for Bed

H has a bedtime routine. Dinner, bath, PJs, run around a little, storytime with Dad, and then bed. I think he must like his routine (he is his father's son, after all.)

The other night the evening had slipped away from us and it was nearly an hour past his bedtime. he had his bath, had his PJs on and was in the middle of his run-around time (which is really just when Mike kinda straightens the house and gets a couple last things done before he puts him down). Anyway, Mike wondered where H was and looked in his room to find him standing at the foot of the reading chair. He had already chosen some books from the shelf, put them on the footstool, and was patiently waiting for his Daddy to come in and read to him.

I think the precious little boy must have been tired.

31 March 2009

Photoshop Actions

I was an interior design major my freshman year of college. And even though I changed majors after that one very challenging year, the foundational design knowledge I learned during that time has been PRICELESS to me since then. (Thanks Mom and Dad!) I not only came away with those skills but also with Adobe Photoshop! The version is a bit outdated now, but that makes no difference to me... I am so thankful for it! I know I haven't begun to tap into it's abilities.

All that to say that I finally did learn one more of its capabilites... I learned how to use Photoshop 'actions'. I have been running across these for awhile now on various blogs and decided to do a little self-teaching. And boy am I glad that I did!

I downloaded a couple free sets of actions from The Pioneer Woman. There are fancy action packages you can buy but I will have to consider that and save up if I ever wanna go that route. For now I am happy with her freebies (her first set can be found here) and other freebies I can find on the web. The Pioneer woman explains actions and gives some examples on this site.

I'll show you some examples I did with PW's actions. This shot was taken in Colorado Springs when H was about 8 months old. I have always like this shot, but it is so much lovlier with these somewhat subtle changes.

This one (above) is the shot straight out of the camera. Isn't he precious?

This is 'Soft and Faded'.

'Fresh and Colorful' makes it much brighter.

This one is called 'Seventies'. It is one of my favorites! Would you believe me if I told you he was born in '75?

See how this one changes the colors a bit (yellow sleeper is now greenish)? 'Colorized'

And this is your basic 'Black and White'.

I love trying new things! Thanks Pioneer Woman for giving these away!

24 March 2009

Sneaky Little Fella

Many months ago we taught H that there are three rooms in the house he is not allowed to enter. Our bedroom, the bathroom, and Mike's office. There are exceptions... like when we let him play in our bed on a weekend morning when we don't wanna get up yet and when we put him on our lap in the office so he can see what is on the computer. And when he is nakey he walks confidently into the bathroom, knowing he won't get in trouble cause he's about to get a bath.

But he's a little sneaky. When we are in one of these rooms and he wants to join us, he just slides in the room on his belly... watching us to see what we're gonna do. These pictures were taken in the bedroom on different days but he does this in each of the rooms.

See how happy he is with himself? He thinks he is so clever...

Often times, he'll create an excuse to enter the room. Like throwing this small lid in the room. Cause then he has to go in to retrieve it, right?

Here he is trying to reach that little yellow ball that he threw under the bed. I don't think he made it, but you can be sure he slid on his belly until only his little feet were outside the room.

Me? I'm happy with the arrangement. Maybe it is kind of a grey area... I'm willing to accept it!

23 March 2009

The Great Stuff Trade

The Great Stuff Trade is a part of daily life. I feel like we are constantly trading items between each other. Rarely does a visit go by during which we are not passing random objects. "Can I borrow your sewing machine?" "Could I have that recipe?" "Do you guys have any non-water-soluble glue?" "Could you fix these Christmas lights for me?" "Could I read that magazine when you're done?" "Did you pick up that cheese for me?" "I think I left my bracelet at your house..."

Once, I asked my friend if this amount of 'stuff-trading' was normal in the States. She said "No." Sometimes I forget what is or isn't normal or what I would or wouldn't do in the States. This also applies to fashion. But don't get me started on that...

Anyway, the trading never really ends. And I think it's kinda fun.

I have a shelf in my closet dedicated to items such as these that are 'in waiting' to be traded to this person or that. Amongst the items traded in the past few years are empty jars, spices, a satin crib sheet, yeast, medicines, plants, recipes, baking pans, craft projects, sewing machines, bags, colored pictures, potted plants, a scale, a map, silverware, seeds, clothing, nail polish remover, cardboard boxes, a highchair, electric drills, lost earrings, glue, baked goods, locally made peanut butter, a bottle warmer, tupperware, DVDs leftovers, fabric, baking soda, baby carriers, homemade jam, a cake saver, Christmas decorations, diapers, diaper covers, diaper pins, train sets, shoes, dishes, a teapot, books, frozen meat, magazines, recipes, paintbrushes, ground coffee, cheese, money, conditioner, dirt, a guitar, bags, a lint roller, teething gel, sippy cups, blankets and a hack saw.

What will be next?

21 March 2009

Can You Spot Him?

Went to get pizza with some friends tonight and when we came down from the upstairs restaurant, we saw a big party going on! Mickie, Minnie, and one of Snow White's dwarfs were hosting this shindig. As we waited for our ride, H was quickly snatched up and taken into the center. This happens all the time. Strangers carry him away. It doesn't phase him. Neither do the strangers taking pictures. Neither did the life-size characters. Neither did the video camera with blinding light. Don't know whose birthday it was... but my boy says "thanks" for letting him celebrate too.

17 March 2009

A Little Party...

I hosted a 'Welcome Baby Ethan' party last week for a few ladies. Ethan African and European and was born about a month ago. It was a blessing to throw this party in his and his Mama's honor!


Our car was broken into last night.

He sliced the seatbelt and snatched my innocent boy's car seat. I mean, if you wanna steal... don't. But if you feel you have too?... steal our bag out of the trunk, fine. Stop there. DO NOT steal from my son! He is my baby. Don't take from him. For heaven's sake. Don't take from him.

And the thing I hate most about it all is that it makes me more jumpy, paranoid, and stressed-out. As if living in this place lately hasn't made me enough of those things already.

16 March 2009

What I Hear All Day Long...

"na na na na NO"
"no no no no no no"

13 March 2009

Friday Visit

At this wedding a couple months ago, I met a lovely lady who spoke some English. A week later, I tried to visit her in her house but she wasn't there. So I chatted with her Mom and met her University-age daughter.

Then a couple weeks ago, Mike met a friendly older man at the neighborhood car mechanic. He invited us to come and visit. Today as we stood in the street discussing which gate I went in when I visited the ladies and which gate the man instructed Mike to come to... we learned that the lovely lady and the friendly man are married! Isn't that wonderful?

They served us some fresh lemon juice, ushered us into their formal 'receiving' room with HUGE fishtank and swarming mosquitoes and served my son many, many chocolates. We chatted.

The highlight of the conversation was the topic of music. He loves music. He loves soul. He loves American oldies. And he loves the Dixie Chicks. The Dixie Chicks.

Where am I again? Someone please remind me.

Exhaust Pipe

Yesterday, we were driving across the city. Traffic was thick. As a big truck pulled up beside our small car we hear a long 'scraaaaape'. Oops. This is not generally a big deal. People are trading scrapes and bumps all the time. What you usually do is get out of the car, look at the damage, say something to the driver, and then you both get back in a drive off. Sometimes someone feels like they should yell. Usually it's wasted breath. A trip to the police station to make a report and etc etc is just not worth the trouble. Luckily, we bought an old car... so when it gets more scrapes and bumps... we REALLY don't care. (Unless of course it's a big bump that prevents the car door from opening, in which case Mikey will hold the other driver's license hostage until the man takes the car across the street immediately to the body repair-shop to get the door banged out. Then the license is happily returned and Mikey makes it home in time for dinner.)

ANYWAY, yesterday the man jumped down from his truck, kneeled down behind his truck and easily yanked his exhaust pipe out from under the vehicle and threw it in the back of his truck. Then he jumped back in. He even skipped the customary 'few words' to the one he scraped. He didn't even try to blame us! Weird!!

Whats even weirder is that apparently that old yucky exhaust pipe was merely for looks. Not my idea of vehicle ornamentation, but whatever...

06 March 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do

My son is TOTALLY in the mimicking stage. He copies everything. The good and the bad. He'll rub your back if he sees someone else do it, but he'd probably also pick a wedgie if he saw you do THAT. Funny. Yet scary.

Anyway, he sees me water the plants most days. Monkey see, monkey do. My son see, my son do. This one, however, I can live with.

"I get the water from here, right? Are you gonna tell me 'No' if I start playing in this wet messy wonderfulness?" (No H, I won't say no!)

"Look Mama, I got some water!"

"Yup, definately water in there! This is fun!"

"Let's start here, this one looks pretty dry"

"Now this one"

"Oops, where did the water go? The flowers are still dry!"

"Oh, this one is just my size..."

02 March 2009


I believe that this is the first time in my son's ENTIRE LIFE that he didn't wake up when we took him out of the car, carried him upstairs, and changed his diaper. Far as I can remember, he never snoozed right through a diaper change before. Floppy little limbs and all.

A local wedding really wore him out!

01 March 2009


Yesterday we had an (un)-birthday around here. And the day before that we had a party for the (un)-birthday boy.

H did like wearing the birthday hat that he (I) decorated when I first put it on him. Needless to say, he later decided he DID NOT like the hat any longer. I still liked it on him, the pouty face just made it so much more charming...

And, we had friends over for dinner and dined outside. Our balcony has been recently painted, so now we are really enjoying it! After it got dark, we re-arranged things and watched a movie projected on the wall. The Count of Monte Cristo was nearly life-size! But then a dust-storm blew in. We were literally chewing on dust and stuff was blowing around big time... but we persevered to the end of the movie!!

Happy Birthday honey! Life with you is wonderful!
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