31 October 2010

In the Skies

You may be wondering how our travels went over a week ago.

Do I have to choose between most challenging and most empowering?

Cause I can't.

It was challenging and empowering. But neither could fit the category of 'MOST challenging/empowering 24 hours EVER'.

I'd just say that eighty percent of our time traveling was super fun and adventurous. Yes, I really do mean that! But the other twenty percent of time I thought would have been an excellent opportunity for Jesus to have made His second coming and end all the suffering in the world.

Lord have mercy.

Let me walk you through it.

This is starting out. Midnight in our home city. Almost all the flights leave our city in the middle of the night. Please note: I had the only kids on the plane.

Sweet N fell asleep pretty quickly once they got her little bassinet hooked into the wall. She snoozed most of the way.

My boy on the other hand found everything most exciting and was quite wired. Eventually I drugged him for a cold he never had and he eventually fell asleep.

Me? Not so much.

We arrived early in the morning to Frankfurt, Germany. This has previously been listed as one of my least favorite airports in the world.

But it has now redeemed itself. I'll show you why in a minute.

This is our layover in Frankfurt. If possible, we like to claim entire sections of seats to ourselves during layovers. Then we spread our massive amounts of baby and traveling gear everywhere and really make ourselves at home.

Other passengers who have layovers in the same airport really love it when families like mine do this.


This is an early morning blessing from Jesus. This is what has redeemed the Frankfurt airport for me.

A free hot-drink station! Courtesy of Lufthansa. Glory, hallelujah!

So many choices!! What shall I choose? Cappuccino. Oh thank you Lufthansa. I will fly with you forever. Or at least until I find another airline with better prices. In which case I'll fly the other airline but still look for your free hot-drink stations hiding out around corners in your boarding gates. Okay?

Another thing I loved about the Frankfurt airport? Everyone talked to us in German. For some reason this really flattered me. I kept thinking "Ha! They think I'm one of them!" Sometimes I'd pretend to understand and other times I have to say "Um, English please?"

My girlie had her own drink. She looks German, don't you think?

He he

And my boy just hanging out. Also looking German.


Once we left our little camp-out zone and proceeded to our correct gate I noticed that once again, I had the only children. I also noticed that everyone else was wearing black. I mean EVERYONE. No exaggeration. It was an early morning flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Munich, Germany. It was a total business-person commuter flight. And then there was us. No black. No business. No commuting. Three Americans with morning breath wearing sweats, faded jeans and feetie pajamas.


So, as we were waiting at the gate (with our things strewn about, as usual) the staff kindly approached me to inform me that we could board early because of the children.

"Okay" I said. "I'll just need a minute to gather our things."

The airline staff then proceeded to stand over me, nearly gawking while I tried to gather our various baby and traveling paraphernalia and shove it into various bags. This process takes time.

Now, please understand how meticulous you have to be in order to gather a double stroller, pack two carry-ons, locate a small boy's backpack, put on sweatshirts, check to make sure shoes haven't fallen off, strap baby in baby carrier, make sure the pacifier is close-by, check the area for forgotten goods and chase down and hold the hand of a energetic toddler.

This takes TIME.

And there is a specific order and way things have to be zipped up, strapped on, slung over, and grabbed onto. If the order gets mixed up then it just doesn't work nearly as well.

[Man standing over me, mentally twiddling his thumbs.]

Does he not understand?

So aaanyway. I did a bad job of loading myself up. So now instead of looking like the confident and composed mother traveling with two little kiddos alone that I know I am... I look like a total mess.

Oh well. I do manage to locate the pocket where I had our boarding passes and I hand 'em over and start walking down the ramp.

And then someone must have pulled out a bugle and played the Call to Post.

Cause before we were halfway down the ramp, there was a stampede of black suits and briefcases headed straight at my son, who is slowly making his way down the ramp behind me.

Are you serious?

What exactly is the point of giving people with children early boarding if you are just gonna release a pack of business-people the second we step past the desk?

Give me a break.

I saw looks on the faces of those who had caught up to my boy in about two seconds flat. They were perplexed by this tiny sweatsuit wearing mini-person. "Should we pass up this little kid or screech on our brakes to give him time to walk down to his Mommy?" That is what they were thinking.

Luckily they slowed down, I didn't have to use my eye-daggers and we boarded. My thick skin once again served me well cause I didn't care what they thought.

So after this short commuter flight to Munich, another short layover, and some decent pre-boarding time, we were on our way to Charlotte!

And then I was that woman on the plane with the crying child for four hours in the middle of a nine hour trans-Atlantic flight. I was that woman on the plane with the busy nosey toddler who repeatedly dropped his stuffed monkey behind the seat and then stuck his little face between the seats five hundred times to see what those very lucky trying-to-watch-a-movie-but-instead-repeatedly-returning-stuffed-monkey passengers were doing. I was that woman.

It was in the midst of those four crying filled hours that I stopped making eye contact with people. Most importantly I stopped making eye contact with anyone within the immediate vicinity of seats 44 H and K. It was not pretty for awhile there in the middle, folks. But then sweet N (endearing term used loosely here) finally ceased her wailing and fell asleep and the whole aircraft cabin took a collective sigh of relief. Me? I slouched down in my seat and rung for some refreshments.

We did arrive in one (three) pieces. I did it. Let me re-phrase that...


I even managed to get myself loaded up correctly and didn't struggle to get my children, our carry-ons, our stroller AND our check-in bag through customs. I even handled the extensive questioning and thorough bag searching with calmness and grace.

Here we are on the other side, arrived in Charlotte! Of course H zonked out the moment we exited the airplane. He was so exhausted from all that monkey throwing I guess. Go figure.

I did have a few concerns ahead of time... my baby girl did spend a lot of her time squealing, I didn't get much sleep at all (only a couple hours the whole time), but my allergy-clogged ears didn't pain me at all.

After we arrived I breathed deeply of the cool fresh air. Then I got to squeeze my sister and my nephew and my brother-in-law who is doing AMAZINGLY well recovering from his heart transplant. Then came my shower and some cozy carpet under my feet.

I definitely had the 'I did it' feeling.

And you know what? It turns out I wasn't alone. Jesus was with me.


20 October 2010

Off We Go!

I am about to embark on either most challenging or the most empowering twenty-four hours of my life.

I am traveling with my children, ALONE, halfway around the world.


I know, I know. People do this all the time. But this person has never done it on such a long trip before.

You see, this trip is me 'chaperoning' the kids home for a visit with their adoring families. The tickets are a complete gift from God! A mid year visits means the families don't have to wait over a year to see the kiddos. My baby girl was 3 months when we left earlier this year and she'd be about 18 months by the time we all go back for a summer break next year. That is just so long to have a baby away and we are so thankful for this opportunity for me to take them home for a short time. It really is a luxury. A true gift!

Mike will stay in Africa and do some traveling around the country that he's been wanting to do for years. I am excited for him too!

Although I will miss him so much.

Part of me is really excited about this airplane trip. I love me a challenge (most of the time). And the other part of me is terrified. My biggest concerns are, in no particular order:

1. Will I get any sleep? I have had trouble sleeping on airplanes since I have had mini human being(s) in my care, even when Mikey is traveling with us. I can't seem to turn myself 'off' enough to rest. I apparently have an internal need to be 'on' in case one of my babies needs something. I can only imagine this will be even greater since I am the only parent going! I mean, it's a good thing I don't zonk out snoring and drooling on myself for the whole flight... but could we meet in the somewhere in the middle, unconscious mind? Can't people literally go crazy if they don't sleep for 40 hours or something? Cause that's about how long I would be awake for if I don't sleep on the planes. Ohmygoodness.

2. Will my baby girl squeal the whole time? She's been a squealer and a squirmer lately. These are not good things to do on airplanes for 6, 1, and 9 hours.

3. My ears. They've been clogged from allergies recently. If they don't pop soon, I fear great pain as we descend. Three times. This could be very very bad.

But I'm really looking forward to an adventure with my kids and the 'I did it' feeling I hope to have when it's all said and done and I've hugged my sister, taken a deep breath of cool fresh air, squished my toes into some carpet and gotten showered.

It's gonna be worth it for all the favorite faces we get to see on the other side!

Here goes nothin'! Off we go...

19 October 2010

Colors of the Rainbow

My boy has been learning colors at school. Well, I don't know if I can can say that he's been learning them if he already knew them. Ach... doesn't matter...

He has to wear certain colors on certain days (except we had no pink or purple.. oops!) and they have stuck to the theme with their craft projects too.

Here's a host of his latest. All colors of the rainbow! Except blue. We must have missed that day.

(Don't worry, I'm sure that the novelty of my son's artwork with wear off someday and I will no longer post pictures of it online for all of you readers to roll their eyes at. At least maybe it will wear off. Maybe it won't. I actually can't say. But you can hope, huh? Ha!)

Such diversity here in red... finger-painted balloon picture, a glitter star, and a red rice strawberry!

Wondering what that white puffy thing is? Cotton candy, silly! And it tasted delicious the 14,000 times I took a bite on demand. (Please note the use of glitter.)

H loved his pink glitter lollipop. I had to throw it away when he wasn't looking. I feared for his health and the health of his baby sister. How do you make a kid understand that not all things are to be shared with baby sisters?

Here they glued grass onto the carrot tops. Cute, huh?

Paper plate sunflower and glittery lemon.

More glittery fruit. Give me a break.

Wow! This was a very multimedia day. Feathers, another paper plate craft, and purple GLITTER painted cotton balls. Those grapes are quite impressive, if you ask me. Maybe too impressive, but more on that later...

For now let's talk about glitter.

This glitter is everywhere by now folks. We are literally living in a rainbow of glitter. I am finding it on my body, on my baby girl, on our counters, all over the car and in my boy's ears.

Okay, so I never actually saw glitter in H's ears, but I'm certain it got in there. How could it not? It was everywhere.

I tried to isolate and quarantine these projects the moment they entered my home. The sirens would sound, I would run to the folder as I put my rubber gloves on, gently lift the delicate artwork out of it's folder and slowly transport it to the kitchen, being careful not to breathe.

But it was all in vain.



Onto black. The pirate hat and the spider were a big hit. I never did figure out what the black square is a painting of. Any ideas?

White. The lamb is nice. I wasn't so happy about the ghost. But whatever.

And brown was interpreted as gold. Gold glitter. LOTS of gold glitter. Lord help us all.

The unit was finished off with some rainbow days! I love the hat and rainbow.

And a rainbow sun and two coloring pages. A glitterless two days. Wow!

But may I draw your attention to something?

Do you notice anything funny about this? I mean it's a super cute picture, but does it look like a small boy colored it?

Puh-lease! I know my boy is gifted and all (he he), but I know better than to think he can color a frog and umbrella so well.

Or these crayons?

Each crayon with it's own color? Colored in almost entirely inside the lines?


I tried to get H to admit that his teachers had colored his pictures. He alluded to it, but I never did get a straight answer.

Oh well. He doesn't seem to mind!

I love you H! You are so fun and so bright!

18 October 2010

Playing Around the House

This sweet girlie is home with her Mama every day. Rare are the moments when she plays quietly by herself. She usually prefers to spend her waking hours on Mama's hip. If Mama's hip is currently unavailable, then she can be found simultaneously army crawling and crying, trying in vain to keep up with her Mama.

Wanna see?

On the rug with her toys... time to play!


And there ya have it. She is not happy.

So, you can imagine my shock a few days later when she wasn't on my hip, nor was she crying at my feet!

Uh oh. This means trouble, right?


It means she found something she wanted to explore,

up close and personal!

Cute, huh?

Here she is exploring something else...

The shelf under the coffee table.

This one was taken right before I had to wrangle her little baby leg free from between the slats.

She also likes to crawl through obstacle courses,

and scale tiny rocking chairs. (Nevermind that she doesn't know how to get back down yet.)

She has also found another use for her tripod!

And like all babies, plastic bags provide hours (minutes) of enjoyment. Don't judge me. She was in no danger, I promise.

And sometimes, she even plays happily in her crib!

But her favorite times are when brother plays with her.

This morning during H's regular reading time he got up, got his baby sister some toys to play with next to him, and then got back to his books! Soooo sweet!

Here they are cooking together.

And playing trains together!

Ohmygoodness, my heart bursts for them!

16 October 2010

Cooking Pot

Flashback with me, if you will, to Qatar.

We visited the local market there, and saw these pans in one of the winding alleys.

It's a cooking pot.

For camels.

That would explain it's ENORMOUS size. They literally chop up the huge sucker and throw him in this pot too cook him up.

Oh my goodness.

Have you ever seen anything like it?

I would imagine they have these pots in this country too. There are camels around and people do eat them. They say it tastes like chicken.

he he

I just made that up. The part about it tasting like chicken. I didn't make up the part about having camels around. That part is true.

But they do say that if a pregnant woman eats camel meat that she'll be pregnant for a year.


Anyway. That's all. Just wanted to show you that heee-uuge pot.

Over and out.

15 October 2010


In case you were wondering...

...this little guy is "Winnie the Bert."


Yeah... my kid doesn't live in mainstream America. Can you tell?

I thought he had Mickey Mouse down when he identified the shape of his pancake awhile back. But now he seems to have gotten his characters a bit mixed up...

12 October 2010

Super H

I was inspired awhile back to sew a Super-H cape for my boy.

After doing my 'Google research' on simple cape patterns I kinda made this one up.

And I made one for my nephew D too!

It really does work...

look at this boy fly!

I think he likes it!

And I think I like him!

(By the way, these pictures are a few months old. I sure do miss that long hair!)