30 August 2010

"There's a New Sheriff in Town"

My sister sent us a little surprise a while ago...



No, not the boy. MAN, would that have been a great surprise or what?! I miss my nephew!!!



She sent the kiddos Toy Story tee shirts! Now the little cuz's (only 10 months different in age) are representin' from half way around the globe in matching tee shirts.



Even little N in her baby tee.

Thanks sister!

29 August 2010

I Think I've Seen This Before



Something looks familiar about a baby stuck under there...



N's big brother was the first one to get stuck under this particular stool! Only that house was much more 'rough' than our current house. He never seemed to mind though...



( Wow, amazing difference in cameras too, huh?)

8 Months Old Today

It was eight months ago today that after several hours of labor this baby girl nearly fell out of my...

Wait. I'm not gonna to go there. You don't want to hear it, do you? You should be glad that I have spared you my birthing stories.

At least I've spared you up until this point.

I can't guarantee what may my fingers might type when they are feeling loosey goosey someday down the line...

he he

But for now here are some sweet photos of my girl this morning after I bathed her and dressed her (insert your congratulations here for those two accomplishments)...









Sweet little N... you're one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

28 August 2010

Quote of the Day

H was riding in the car chatting with our fellow passengers when he says: "I speak Air-wabic. Khalaas!"

(Khalaas means finished and he picked it up at school. He's been using it quite frequently).

He also said tonight when he was upset in bed and wanted his Daddy: "I wan my Baba!!"

Baba is what the locals say for Daddy. I think he must have learned that in school too.

At this rate he's learning one Arabic word a day. Not bad for an 'English' school...

That's More Like It

Early this morning in my dream the power cut but someone continued to shower (despite there being no electricity.) In real life, at that time, the power cut and it was pouring rain outside. Ha!

Really really pouring.

Yes. This is another rain post. What can I say people?... Tired of hearing about the rain? Sorry!

Anyway...

It was lovely. Mike got up to open all the windows to let the cool breeze in before he laid back down.

Then he got back up to close some of windows cause the rain was blowing inside the house all over our stuff. One window in our bedroom had a puddle under it this morning. We didn't care at all. I was glad for more of a 'proper' rain!

Mid morning we went out and the skies were cloudy. This is quite rare and actually a treat!



We had a long drive across the city and encountered many 'puddles' and flooded areas. This is still mild compared to rains of years past... but there is still lots of water in the streets.



They don't have any drainage system in the city...



so every year in rainy season the same thing happens.



It really makes a big mess of things. A dirty, stinky mess!

We were all excited cause this is the first year that we have a 4 x 4. But then Mikey confessed that he doesn't actually know how to turn the four wheel drive on! Good thing we didn't need it...

26 August 2010

Quote of the Day

"Did Daddy help you brush your teeth H?" I asked my son.

"Yeah! Now I can get a wife!" he replied.

(Mike has been teaching him that good oral hygiene is key to finding a wife later in life) Ha!

"It's Waining!"



We've seen a few sprinkles around here. Nothing too significant until today. Frankly I'm a bit disappointed in this year's 'rainy season.' Rainy shmainy. Where are the flooded streets? Where is the water running down my walls and under the windows? Where are the rickshaws stuck in big puddles? (oh wait... I did see one of those!)

Anyway, earlier in the year I blogged about the first rain but had no pics. But today it rained hard during a time when my children were awake! Usually it's been at night or early morning when the sprinkles come. So I ushered H outside to experience the rain...



"It's waining Mommy!!"



Rain is a novelty to our boy. He hasn't experienced it much. During a lull... he said "Make it turn back on Mommy!"



Even little N didn't mind the cold drops on her skin...

The Revival of the Mouse



I've been catching up on a lot of computer/internet stuff now that I have some quiet mornings during the week. It's been glorious.

And so on a whim I brought back the old fashioned mouse. Well, not too old fashioned cause this one doesn't have a roller ball inside; it has a light instead. Don't ask me how it works but it does. Computer productivity has doubled because of it. No joke.

25 August 2010

Puking and Jesus

This morning I knew my boy was awake because I heard him crying. This is most unusual. Normally he lays there for awhile, runs laps in the bed, throws his stuffed monkey on the floor, smashes his face into the window that looks to the hallway and then says "Hi Mama!" when he sees me sit down at my desk or walk by to throw a load of laundry in the washer. He's a pretty happy kid. Crying in the morning is not the norm.

So I rushed in and asked "What's wrong puppy?"

In between sobs he managed: "I wan you to wock me and sing to me."

*heart breaking*

"Okay baby, I can do that..."

'Wocking' and singing commenced. It wasn't too hard to convince me. What Mom of a two year old (or a Mom of any kid, really) doesn't love to hold her baby in her arms and sing to him if he asks in such a sad 'I need you Mama' voice? Admit it Moms out there... in this scenario we love to be needed.

As I was singing I was blaming Ramadan for this strange behavior. My boy crying first thing in the morning is so out of the ordinary that I was certain it had something to do with the intense spiritual atmosphere during Ramadan.

Anyway, after one song he seemed satisfied enough so we headed to the bathroom for his morning 'business'. At which time he said "My tummy is full of food Mommy. I don't wanna eat beckfast."

Mmm. That's odd cause he hadn't eaten in a good 14 hours. Oh well. I moved on with life and got him dressed and then he asked to be 'wocked' and sang to again.

I can't resist him. He's too precious.

So I scooped him and was ready to sing another verse of Faithful to Me by Jennifer Knapp when I quickly became covered in puke. Huh? I put my boy down on the floor and tried to get him to puke into the toilet. But instead he just turned around with arms outstretched reaching for me to hold him.

Who can say no? I tell you no one could have resisted that boy's need to be held at that moment. So he puked more as I wrapped my arms around him and became shocked at how little I hesitated drawing him near to me in the midst of the mess. All I wanted was for my boy to feel loved and cared for.

Because that is what he is.

So anyway, you should know it was a fluke thing and after the mess was cleaned up he felt much better and was quickly back to him normal bouncing-off-the-walls self. This episode probably could be blamed on him chugging too much water when he woke up rather than the spiritual climate of Ramadan. Whew!

Later on, I was reflecting on all this and I realized it's so much like us and our Heavenly Father. My son was covered in yucky puke... it was actually still coming out of his mouth and I didn't hesitate to wrap him up and love him and even get his yuckiness on me in the process.

Wow. Is that like Jesus or what?

No, I am not comparing myself to Jesus. Puh-lease.

I'm saying that even when we are covered in yuckiness (sin), even when it is still pouring out of our lives and our mouths and our thoughts... He does not hesitate to snatch us up and love us and care for us. He doesn't even care about how dirty we are... He just wants to be with us. Reach your arms to Him and He's there in, like... a nanosecond. As in He's always there. And in the process of scooping us up Jesus DID get our yucky sinfulness all over Himself. And then He paid the price for it so we wouldn't have to. And then He gave us the ability to live without that sin. Glory to the Holy Spirit for that one.

It's so amazing. He is so amazing. His love is more than I can grasp.

And you wanna know something else amazing? That He can remind me of His love through my son's puke.

:)

23 August 2010

My Big Boy Goes to School

My house is so quiet. This house has moments of quiet, but at this moment it feels far more quiet than usual.

Today I sent my son off on his first day of nursery school. I had to wake him the morning to get him ready in time and when I told him it was time to go to school he said "To pa-way?" (to play?) He loves kids and toys and people. He didn't even want to go potty or get dressed. He wanted to "go byebye" right then and there wearing nothing but his wet diaper with sleep still in his eyes.

So I dressed and fed him and strapped his little backpack on his little back. It was stocked with extra clothes (please don't have an accident on the first day), his swim trunks (he's gonna love a swimming activity today!), lots of snacks (will he eat anything in the midst of his excitement?), his water (will they remind him to drink?), and his sunhat (should I have sent sunscreen too?). All these things I had printed his name on in block letters. This was one of the most surreal moments for me. Labeling my baby boy's things for school. He's just growing up so fast...

So after pictures and prayers together and loading him onto the van and then taking him off the van cause it wouldn't start and then watching him walk away...

My boy is off to school.

*fighting back tears*

I know, I know. You'll say it's not the big of a deal. And you are right. I mean, who wanted him to go to school more than anyone? Um, that'd be me. But I'll still miss him and wonder for awhile if I'm doing the right thing.

I've liked to think that I can 'do it all' between a toddler and a baby and my house and living in this heat in a foreign culture and still staying involved with other things. But I feel like the truth is that something had to give. I was managing okay, but I wasn't giving my boy the patience, time, structure and activities that I would have liked to. Other stuff just got in the way. And it's easy to see that H loves to be out, to be around other kids and people, to be busy and active. So now he gets to have more of that.

So as I walked upstairs alone after watching him happily walk away it was all sinking in. But then I checked my email (coping mechanism, admittedly) and read an email my Mom had written regarding the topic:

"I do think it will add a dimension to H's life that he will enjoy and the one-on-one time you can then have with N will be good for the two of you as well. It takes nothing away from your mothering! It adds to it! And it's not so much time that you are abandoning him to anyone else's values. I think it will be good for everyone involved!"

*sigh of relief*

Thanks Mom. I needed to hear that. And even though you're far away... you sure were in the right place at the right time reassuring me of our decision.

So I'm still a little teary and sad. But I think I'll spend a little time this morning preparing something fun we can do together when he returns....

-----------

Here's the documentation...



Waving when he saw the van waiting for him!



Could that boy have any more happiness on his face?! His grin is ear to ear.



He'll be going with his little Dutch/Egyptian friend.



Tiny ones in backpacks are just the cutest...



Loading up!



And walking away to hire an amjad that actually works...

Bye bye my big boy! I will miss you!

New Blender

While spending our last of MANY hours in the Dubai Airport (Terminal 2, mind you) a couple weeks ago, I told Mike that we should buy a blender. Mine was already making funny noises and I convinced him that we'd save a bunch of money buying it there rather than in our city.

He gave in.

And so I became a first time major-purchase Duty Free shopper.

Yes, a blender is a major purchase for me. Don't laugh.

So along with two children, a carseat, a stroller, two large backpacks, one mini backpack, and a roller suitcase we were now also carrying this new purchase onto the airplane.



When we got home I did like any responsible new-appliance owner does. I read the instruction manual. When you go to so much trouble to bring something into the country you don't want to go breaking it upon first usage, now do you?



In case you're wondering, it did specifically say NOT to put any object in the blender while it's on.

Hear that honey? he he

Once we got past the wattage and proper usage and cleaning, it came to my favorite part...

Recipes!!!

I love recipes, don't you? And there was a lot of booklet left so I settled in to read about the wonderful concoctions I could make using my blender.

First one was for soy milk.



Mmmnn. Didn't know you could make your own soy milk. Great to know though cause I am mildy lactose intolerant and do drink soy milk when possible. Here it is not available. But good news I can now make my own.

If only I had soy beans.

Next please.



Nourishing vegetable soup from Budapest.

Interesting. This recipe, although apparently wholesome and international, includes two ingredients which I have never heard of and another that it illegal in this country. Not so helpful.

Next please.

Oh wait.

The next page was French. The English section was over and all I got were two lousy recipes.

Boo.

So I unsettled myself and got up to move on with my life.

22 August 2010

Quote of the Day

I don't actually have a habit of doing a 'Quote of the Day.' But considering that I live with a two year and a husband with a great sense of humor (not to mention the crazy things he says in his sleep)... maybe I should!

Anyway, he's at the conference tonight and I'm home with the full-bellied baby who is now napping off her meal. And so he called to let me know about dinner.



"What are they serving for dinner honey?" I asked him.

"You know, macaroni and grease."

"Uh huh."

"Do you want me to bring you some?"

"Um, no thanks."



Yeah. That sounds about like African cooking! Ha! I love Africa!

Wait. Did I just say that?! That part about loving Africa?

I have come a long way my friends. A very long way. And I'm not speaking in geography terms...

The Band

We've been busy with a conference the past few days. There has been much singing, sharing, praying, laughing and eating! It's been wonderful. One of the highlights has been watching all the little kiddos play. It's a global group, so the families and kids are diverse. And plentiful. The children and babies are also plentiful!!

Here are three little kiddos born within months of each other playing in the 'band' for John who is leading the singing.





Let's hear it for Dutch/Egyptian D on the tambourine, Egyptian J on the maraca, and our own little H on the rhythm stick!!

Entirely Unrelated

Here I have for you some entirely unrelated photos and comments. I find it very hard not to post each of these in a new post with it's own title because they have absolutely no relation. But I thought I should spare you (as if you care) and just throw 'em all in together.

I guess they are all pictures from today.

So I could have entitled this post 'Pictures from Today.' But that sounds so uninspiring and lacking any sort of interest that I won't. But for the record.... it is actually what I mean. Okay?

Okay.

Getting on with it.

First up:





My boy who sweats almost non-stop from the top of his nose. Nowhere else. Just his nose.

This seems odd to me. Should I be worried?

---

Next up: Same kid. Same nose. But here he's playing a game. Can you guess what game?



This is H playing "which hand?"

Nevermind that he only puts out one hand and that one hand is already open showing you what is in it. It is still a fun game to him. So shut up, don't tell him he's doing it wrong and play along.

---

Next up: Baby Girl!



I have thrown all parenting-book advice out the window and have given her zucchini, apple, potato, carrot, bread, biscuits and bananas all in one day. Most of them she's never had before. And she loves it. In this photo you'd think it was Thanksgiving afternoon and that her body was full of whatever-that-thing-in-turkey-is that they say makes you go to sleep.

Well, maybe to her it was like Thanksgiving. She did just consume the largest meal of her entire life.

---

Last one: Her again.



Here she is informing me that it's time to take the bassinet out of her pack n' play. She's says she's ready for a big girl crib now.

*sniff sniff*

Toxic

A few years ago I wrote this post about being 'green' and what I had recently learned about plastics. At that time the issue seemed to be of concern for the environment and not our own health. When H was a baby BPA wasn't much of a health issue. I had to replace our bottles when my little girlie was born because what was a non-issue a couple of years before was then front-page headlines.

Anyway, for some unknown reason this whole topic has circled around in my head and arrived at the front again.

I've known for awhile not to microwave food in plastic. That's not too hard of a rule to follow, considering I don't have a microwave. But recently I thought "If you're not supposed to heat the food on the plastic plate cause the plastic gets hot and leeches toxins, then does the same thing happen when you put hot food ON the plastic plate?"

Seemed like a logical question.

So I got my google on.

This article was a good one for basic info and practical ideas. And it seems that heat and plastic is a bad idea all-around. You could even say that food and plastic is also a bad idea all-around. Not every plastic is toxic. But frankly it's hard to know.

And now I see everything in my kitchen with new eyes.

How many times have I dumped all the hot ingredients for tuna tettrazini in that cheap plastic mixing bowl and stir them up before dumping them in the casserole dish?

How many times have I loaded our melamine plates with hot food straight off the stove before serving it to my family?

How many times have I poured hot lentil soup into tupperware to load into the freezer?

How many times have I poured a few cups of boiling water into a plastic pitcher before dropping in tea bags to make iced tea?

How many cups of hot coffee have I drank from my plastic travel mug?

The list goes on and on.

But wait.

There's more.

BPA (the most famous toxin in some plastics) has been found to be in ALL KINDS OF STUFF. You've probably heard that it's in some toys and canned foods, but did you know that they have found that many cash-register receipts also have a coating on it?! Also, not something we deal with on this side of the world, but in the States, hellooooo wallet busting with receipts and then feeding my kids and biting my nails, and... and... and... oh my goodness.

I'm so freaked out now.

So, I think I'll do some re-arranging in my kitchen and put my ceramic and glass and metal dishes in the more prominent locations. I'll also keep my eyes peeled for alternatives to purchase and use.

I want to protect my babies.

I don't want to mess up their little bodies. I don't want them to have trouble having kids or hit puberty a couple years too early.

But.

Despite how freaked out I am, I know that this is just another thing to trust God in. Doesn't He love my kids and our health more than I do myself?

Of course He does.

So I'll make changes and try to be more conscientious. But I'll just trust Him too.

20 August 2010

She's Creee-piiing!!

Well, this post is long overdue cause my baby girl started doing this way back in Kuwait... which was at least a month ago. It seemed a bit early to me at six and a half months... but she does have a speedy big brother to keep up with!



She has a long way to go!



Arms, legs, feet, hands and belly... she uses it all to get the job done.



Check out that hair. It's like a sail in the wind...





Almost there!



A look of concentration...





As Poppi says when he sees her over skype... "What has she got in those cheeks?... Walnuts?!" Such a sweet chubby face!



Yep. I was waiting for that! She made it in about one minute flat.

Oh, the joy she brings,
even in her little things...

19 August 2010

Three Things

I have three things to say to cyberspace this evening.

1. Sometimes I think I'd like to live someplace with carpet. Head injuries would be way less scary for Mamas like me.

2. I also think I'd like to have a microwave. Heating leftovers shouldn't take 30 minutes.

3. And, today I dusted the shampoo and conditioner. That is just not normal.

Who said?

Who said that only first-time parents check on sleeping babies a gazillion times to make sure they are still breathing?



Cause this little peanut's nap is going on five hours and she literally hasn't moved a muscle.

Any muscle, that is, besides the ones it takes to breathe. Don't worry, I've checked, like, a gazillion times to make sure that those muscles are still working...

:)

17 August 2010

Not Laughing

Last night we were sitting around chatting with some new local friends waiting for the sun to set so we could share a meal together to end their Ramadan fast. We were talking about all sorts of things and conversation moved onto the size of families. Lightheartedly, we'd take turns sharing about so and so, who knew a guy with 24 kids... "No way!" and so and so, who has a dozen brothers and sisters... "Oh my!"

And then an older guy who grew up in this country laughingly said "You know, we have to keep having large numbers of children around here because certainly some of them are going to die and you have to be sure that you have some left! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!"

The other locals were laughing along with him.

And me?

Not laughing.

I was stone faced. I was shocked that he was essentially making a joke about the high infant mortality rate in the country. Or maybe I was more shocked that his national friends thought it was funny. You'd have thought he made a 'One guy walked into a bar' joke. Which really doesn't fit culturally AT ALL, but you get the point. That is how the others were laughing. It was honestly and truly funny to them.

I glanced around at the few other white faces at the table. We all were looking blank. Or at least displaying a look of confusion about what kind of reaction was appropriate in this moment.

It was not funny to me. We have many local friends who have lost infants and this hit entirely too close to home.

It was not funny at all.

But I was amazed at the resiliency that was being displayed in this lighthearted conversation turned awkward and depressing. It was only awkward and depressing for the internationals around the table. It's true... MANY families lose babies. I'd say most families loose at least one child. I'm sure it hit close to home to the guys laughing too, but they still laughed.

The nationals are so strong. They bounce back. They're amazing.

But it still is an awful subject. And just like I said last year when dear, sweet baby Manesseh died, all I can do when I think about it is beg Jesus to come back now and take away all the pain...

15 August 2010

A Parental First

This weekend I made a funny shaped pancake for my son for the first time:



"Wha iiis it?" My boy asked me.

"Can you tell what shape it is H? Who does it look like?"

"Winnie da Pooh?"

"It kinda looks like Winnie the Pooh, but that's not who it is... does it look like anyone else?"

"Mickey Mouse!!"

"Yeah!!!.. That's it!"



I think he liked it. And I guess kids have no qualms about eating their cartoon friends...

Don't Let Her See You!

Lately I've taken to crawling around my bedroom floor on my hands and knees so that my infant daughter doesn't see me from her crib. My husband is also guilty of this.

Don't laugh.

It's a bit painful, results in dusty hands and knees and is quite humbling.



Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

But it's sure worth a try.