28 February 2011

A Puppy in these Parts

We have a puppy around these parts.

Only if you call him 'puppy' he may inform you that he is not a puppy, but a 'medium dog.'

Medium dog. Got it.

Medium doggy likes to start every sentence with "Ruff ruff." If you are a good medium doggy caretaker, you too, will begin each sentence with "Ruff ruff."

This doggy walks around on all fours,

gives doggy kisses,

does this (whatever this is)...

and sleeps in his doggy bed.

Baby doggy see medium doggy do?... baby doggy do too.

(say that five times fast)

And after doggy is done frolicking around, doggy puts doggy bed on the coffee table, drapes it in a quilt, and settles in for some book reading, naturally.

Ruff ruff.

This Morning

This is what I've got around here this morning.

Something is wrong, I'd say.

This sweet girlie wasn't much interested in breakfast or milk.

Poor thing.

And on the other end of things, I've changed her diaper three times, the changing mat twice, my clothes once and her clothes thrice (how come no one says 'thrice' these days?). Oh my.

For the sake of comparison, take a look at these photos of her at lunch a few days ago. This was the day that I was the one crying cause we had such a special time together.

Big difference.

Aaaanyway, after this hysterical/sad face, the third diaper change and a little cuddling...

... now we have this.

A sweet snoozer.

27 February 2011

Reading Stack

Here's my recent reading stack. Top three are re-reads and the bottom one is still in progress. Click on the photo if you care to see the titles better.

I love to read.

That's all.


26 February 2011

Day 5


What would a short-term single parenting experience be without vomit?

Nothing, I guess, judging by the fact that the majority of my short-term single parenting experiences include it.

Wanna hear the story?


Okay then. Stop reading.

Or not.

So, I rose about fourteen thousand times last night for one thing or another. Usually Mikey handles all the night rising, but as you know, he's gone until tonight.

Twice last night, I did my somewhat regular and entirely stupid habit of waking in the middle of the night to the sound of a light wind and glancing out the window to see what appears at the time to be a fierce color of orange. This, I'm certain is a sign of a dust storm approaching. So I stumble about closing a window or two until a longer look out the window alerts me that in fact, all is normal and I am suffering from a case of middle-of-the-night dementia. Again. Then I mumble about my own repeated stupidity and crawl back into bed. (In hindsight, I'd like to say that it must have been my keen womanly instinct. Cause half a day later a dust storm has moved on in.)

Aanyway, at some other point in the night I heard one of my offspring coughing through the baby monitor. I rushed to their room and stood waiting for more sounds and none came. So I stumbled back to bed.

7:15 came and my boy woke. I wordlessly opened his mosquito net and let him climb down with his blanket in hand. He settled himself on the couch doing his normal morning reading while I went back to bed.

8 something and I went in to check on girlie. She hadn't made a peep and I wanted to see if she was awake. She was sitting there, also looking quietly at a book I had apparently left in her bed on accident. I gave her a handful of more books and left her to do her morning reading. Nothing seemed amiss.

Then I sat my drowsy bottom in an armchair wishing that someone would bring me a morning cup of coffee to open my eyes. I sat wishing this for a long time. I think I said "uh huh" a lot to something H was talking about or asking about.

I was tired.

So tired.

Awhile later I went in to get girlie out of bed.

That's when I saw it.


All over her bed.

All over her.

And it had been there awhile. I assure you.

Hadn't I reached in there to put the stack of books in the bed?

How did I miss the sight and smell you wonder?

Please note earlier sentence about extreme drowsiness. And the smell? That can be blamed on this stuffy nose of mine.

So after my initial shock and realization that I have no one to call in for backup, I chose not to freak out but instead methodically went about the cleaning up of the baby, the bedding, the bed, the books and the lovies.

And now, my short-term single parenting experience is complete. Thankyouverymuch.

BTW, are you seriously reading to the very end of this long post that began with the word 'vomit'?


25 February 2011

Day Four

Day Four and I hit a wall.

We had a fabulous day. We had a dear friend overnight and more friends over for brunch and playing and chatting and then we went to friends for lunch and playing and chatting. I like eating and playing and chatting. It's a great way to spend a day.

But by dinner time I was sitting in a messy house ready to pay LOTS of money if there was just a number I could call to order a pizza and have it delivered. I had hit a wall.

Here's where I think things went wrong:

1. I didn't have my strongly caffeinated beverage at approximately 12 noon. I had it at about 10am and that was too early.

Number 1 led to number

2. I took a nap when the kids did.

You may think this is a good thing, cheering me on saying "Yes!! Rest when the kids do! You deserve it!"

And you're right. I do deserve it. (Well, honestly, if you wanna get technical, I deserve to have a nice rest about as much as I deserve anything nice and and beautiful in this world and that is not at all. But we don't have to get technical all the time, now do we?)

Aaaaaanyway... resting is vastly different from napping. Cause when rest time is over you are rested cause you did some fulfilling quiet activity just for you. But when nap time ends abruptly as your toddler in the next room starts yelling 'MOOOOOOOMMMMY!!! I woke up!" then you are anything but rested. You are groggy and grumpy and mad at the world.

That's when I had the surrounded-by-mess-and-I-want-need-gotta-order-a-pizza-right-now moment.

Except that ordering pizza thing doesn't happen in my part of town.

So I got my butt up and made my specialty: egg cheese burritos. Apple, orange and banana on the side. The kids ate well and I felt much better. Then I got back on my game...

Washed dishes, threw diapers in the wash, instructed small boy to pick up toys, folded laundry, threatened the small boy to pick up his toys, swept the floor, put on a movie for boy who picked up his toys, sewed a bit, prepared pizza dough (tomorrow's dinner crisis averted), bathed my girlie, put sweet clean girlie to bed, read to my boy, put sweet boy to bed, sewed more and showered.

And I lived to blog about it.

One more day.

We miss you Mikey.

24 February 2011

Today: Day Three, No Daddy

Today I had no shame singing in my car, driving all through the city.

Today I wondered why I ever bother to use my turn signal.

Today I am thankful for life in a foreign country, where sometimes I feel like I've literally been 'tossed into the fire' these last five years. I think maybe I'm being purified at a much faster speed than I would be in my comfort zone of America.

Today I got tears in my eyes as I ate lunch sitting next to my baby girl. Her giggles and smiles really just make my heart explode.

Today I wondered how can it possibly get 20 degrees hotter?

Today I was tempted to buy a third entire carton of strawberries this strawberry season.

Today I had such a strange feeling as I drove away from my house leaving one lady inside cleaning it and another friend inside watching my daughter. Is this colonial times or something? Am I some 'Lady of the Manor'? Certainly not. I am just a young woman who lives a sometimes unusual and surreal life overseas.

Today H announced that he had to got to the potty exactly two minutes after we loaded up three kids and left his school. I detoured on a dirt road, got him out and had him pee in a pile of broken tile. At which point a gust of wind blew and my head-scarf blew through his little stream of pee. No more covering of the head after that point.

Today I read this written on the back of a van: "As long as you love me, baby... I love you." Awwww. Isn't that sweet. *rolling eyes*

Today I had a confusing conversation with my boy about turning left. "You're right! We just turned left." "No Mommy, we didn't turn right, we turned left." "That's right. I mean, that's correct... we turned left." "We turned left Mommy, not right!" "Okay, H." "That's not right Mommy, we turned left!" "Okay, H."

Today N went looking for her Daddy in his office. "Dada? Dada?" *sad*

Today my kids were playing together so nicely that I considered letting them skip their afternoon naps entirely. Then I came to my senses.

Today I made a temporary switch from scrapbooking to sewing.

Today I listened to Carmina Burana and am amazed that I can, at times, still sing along. Almost twenty years later.

Today I wondered why do I ever ask the fruit man if the apples are fresh? What is he gonna tell me?... "No."??

Today the ants claimed one dirty diaper and one peanut butter cookie.

Today was wonderful and now I say goodnight.

The Chair Challenge

My daughter is in the plastic-chair-challenge stage.

It's terribly cute.

And terribly scary! My heart skips a beat everytime she is playing with the chair. Like this moment... yikes!

Whew. Good dismount, girlie.

My, she's parched for pretend water after climbing up and down. Up and down.

Time to re-mount.


She's gonna be a ballerina. I just know it.

This is third position. Right?


Oh my.

Getting nervous.

Don't stand up N!!

This was taken as I ran across the room to get her down just as the chair began to tip over.

This was taken the second time I ran across the room to get her down.

This was taken the third time I ran across the room to get her down.

She's too young for first time obedience, right?


I'll be glad when she masters the Chair Challenge.

23 February 2011


Since my hubby is gone and my evenings are full of... well, nothing... I set me up a table in my bedroom (directly under the A/C, FYI) with all my scrapbook stuff. During kiddy naptime and after kiddy bed-time I sit myself down for a little creative creating session. It's like water to my soul. Except when I drop a little piece of paper that would have looked so nice under that one photo under the bed, got down on my hands and knees to find it, and then came up empty handed. Then I wanted to cuss. That wasn't a very watery moment, frankly.

But usually it's watery. You know, refreshing.

While we're using the strange term watery to describe scrapbooking, let me apply it in another way.

My baby boy is growing up... WAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!

[tears streaming down my face]

Currently I am re-doing H's book from the beginning. And this is the beginning.

Me. Prego.

And I have to say, that this is a taaaaaame photo of me prego. I mean, if you saw one of the pictures of me when I was NINE months pregnant, you'd be shielding your eyes from fear that that belly was gonna pop ya right in the eye.

And if you, heaven forbid, happened to see the photos that my mother actually had the nerve to take of me actually in labor?! Well, then you'd be shielding your eyes, smacking your laptop lid closed and calling up the hospital for an immediate tube-tying.

I know I did.

Just kidding.

I did not. But you already know that, cause you know that I did the whole thing again, two years and two months later.

Aaaaanyway, after the small human being that had been taking up residence in my body managed to find it's way out... this is what we had on our hands...

Lord help us all.

My baaaaaaaaaaaby!!!!

learning to sit up *sniff sniff*

and just llllllllooook at those eyes!

He was in Aunt Julie and Uncle Curt's wedding at eight months old.

And now aunt Julie and Uncle Curt are going to have a wee wittle baby of their OOOOOOWN!!


(happy crying, this time, of course!)

I can't take it.

Turning one. I don't know how this happened so fast. Or why it had to.

And this haircut.

This is the haircut that made my baby into a boy.

Please God, why?!

This day I remember so well. Friends. Pool. Toddler. Chips. And that belly on that boy.

Oh my. That belly.

This too.

I can't decide if this was yesterday or sixty-five years ago.

Whenever it was, it was wonderful.

Our boy. When he was the age that our girlie is now.


What treasures they are. What a privilege to watch them grow.

22 February 2011


Today the kids and I went to the mall.

Don't picture mall like you normally think mall.

I mean, kinda picture what you know of a mall, but shrink it like 5 or 50 times. And then transplant it to North Africa. Then put a metal-detector at the front that beeps every time anyone walks through. Then place a security official there next to the always-beeping metal detector who acts like he never hears the beeping. What beeping? And picture escalators. But picture them broken (for years). Then multiply the prices by 2 or 20.

There. That's about right.

And picture me there, with my two kids, chillin' in a decent coffee shop in the center of the mall. Kids are climbing all over the 'leather' couches while I attempt to shove chicken and tomatoes from the inside of my sandwich into their mouths. Then I kick a dead cockroach under the table. Then I dip a fry in ketchup. Then I speak very sternly to my boy... "Do NOT touch that floor. We put our feet on this floor and nothing else. Do you understand?!" And then I take a sip of Pepsi. And then I notice a man a couple of tables over.

He's a big man, we would say. Not cause he's physically big (although he is) but because you call an important looking African man a 'Big man'. I dunno know why. Just go with me okay?

He has a big fancy coffee sitting in front of him. It seems fitting of his big-manness.

His phone rings.

"Allo? (Hello?) Yes. Yes. I am coming. I am coming now."

Then he sets the phone down and continues to leisurely sip his cappuccino or whatever.

Huh. Funny. He doesn't look to be going anywhere to me.

So funny.

So typical.

Mama's in Charge!

Mike is in Kenya at a conference. I am holding down the fort with the two littles here in the meantime. It's only for five days.

My coping strategies are:

1. Find someplace to go every day. This is harder than it sounds.
2. Don't be afraid to spend money. Money buys food at restaurants and sometimes a restaurant is about the only place to go.
3. Drink a strong caffeinated beverage at exactly 12 noon every day. This should propel me through kiddie nap-time awake but (hopefully) not keep me up at night.
4. Ignore the way the car is acting funny. Denial is ignorance. Ignorance is bliss. (?!)
5. Eat that chocolate bar I found at the bottom of the drawer in the fridge.
6. Remind myself that Mikey will get his turn to be in charge of the two littles next week when I get to be the one on a solo trip.
7. Call my Mom and ask her to please tell me that a child's brain function cannot be permanently harmed from several days of over-exposure to television.
9. Organize stuff. This always helps me cope with life.
10. Scrapbook.
11. Sew.
12. Finish that novel I am reading.

Huh. That list somehow turned into a list of my hobbies. I suppose hobbies help me cope.

Aaaanyway... I've never been alone with BOTH kiddos in this country for an extended amount of time before. I have been alone with them on airplanes across the world. And I figure that's way harder. Therefore I'm not concerned about these five days.

Check back later for the actual outcome.

If water cuts or power cuts or internet cuts or if the crazy political happenings that are currently spreading through this region spread here then it might be a different story.

But I'm pretty sure we're gonna be just fine.

21 February 2011

Eat it Up

I am a think-aheader.

A save-the-best-for-laster.


And now we've realized that our summer travels are gonna begin in less than three months. So soon?

I know.

Time flies when you're having fun.

Anyway, do you know what that means? I mean besides the obvious mile-long list of preparations that must be made to leave this home for a few months and travel with a family of four around the world and stay in approximately 94 different places along the way before we land back here at the end of the summer? [exhausted just thinking about it]

It means it's time to eat it up!!!

Do I hear cheering?

Yes! I do! From my own stomach!!

See, we carry in quite a few food items that we can't get locally. Cheddar cheese, powder cheese, Velveeta 'cheese' (please note the use of quotation marks there), Parmesan cheese. Apparently we import a lot of cheese. Never realized that before. But that's not all. There's Craisins and dried blueberries and cake mixes and a Ghiradelli brownie mix (I think I hear the Halleljuiah chorus), muffin mixes and gravy packets and pesto packets and dressing packets and various and sundry other packets and Cheerios and Goldfish crackers and I'll stop naming things now. People send us stuff too (which we love!) and also this year Mom and Dad brought a lot in their luggage at Christmastime.

Hallelujah and amen.

I've had a lot of it around for months, but my plan-aheadedness and save-the-best-for-lastestness won't let me use more than a couple things on occasion. I can't possibly use it all up until I know I have to. For me, half the fun is just knowing it's there should I want it. And now I know that if we don't use it up soon it'll sit around all summer (in a kitchen warm enough to bake something without even turning the oven on) and go to waste.

So happily, gladly, joyfully and gleefully we are gonna start eating it up!

This is just a taste (pun intended) of all of the imported food goodness that is lurking in my fridge and pantry and freezer (helllllo pepperoni!!!) Only there are a few too many cookie mixes and chocolate chips for my own good at this point. Bummer. Why didn't I space those out a bit more? I'm really kicking myself about that now. Why can't I be one of those people that can receive a prize brownie mix in the mail, shout "Carpe Diem!" and pre-heat the oven immediately upon arriving home?

I'm gonna try harder from now on to shout "Carpe Diem" when I'm at the post office.

Except that I'm never the one that goes to the post office.


Better late than never, right?

Pardon me, I may go pre-heat my oven now...

19 February 2011

Quote of the Day

Me: Do you know what H? (as he's laying on the floor in his towel all wet and clean from a shower)
H: No.
Me: You are one of the best things that have ever happened to me.
H: Noooooooo. (silly grin) You da best thing dat ever happened ta MEEE!

17 February 2011

I Love...

I love clean sheet day.

That's all.

These Moments

Moments like this are some of my favorite.


In all of time.