28 July 2011

Just One Guess

I'll give ya just one guess as to what I've been doing in a few spare minutes here and there in the past few days.

I'm fairly certain you won't need more than one.






Did ya guess?

I thought so.

And please forgive the blurry photo... although I'm certain it bugs me more than anyone else. Maybe someday I'll lay them all out and take close-ups for someone out there who might like to make hair bows but needs a few or a few thousand ideas. Ha!

Glory to Grammi... who made this a didn't-need-to-buy-anything-cause-it-was-all-already-there hair bow creating experience!

25 July 2011

My Morning Surprises

Today I woke up to a *crinkle crinkle* and a *crumple crumple*.

Do you know what that means?

It means breakfast in bed, American style!

Don't judge. When you usually live in Africa (in a country without a McDonalds), then this is a fun surprise.


Mikey kept saying "Breakfast in bed is so much easier in this country!" Ha! It's true!

Know what my other surprise was? The *crinkle crinkle*?

Roses. Oooohhh.... lovely.

And this.

With a super sweet note that blessed my heart and made me cry and that you don't get to read. But you can read this much. I love it.

I love him.

Today's occasion? Our 7th wedding anniversary.

It's quite possibly been the most challenging, the most surprising, the most exciting and the most WONDERFUL seven years of my life. I've got a pretty great life companion. Seven years ago I never knew what we'd see together. Or where we'd make our home. Or what challenges we would walk through together. Or what amazing mini people we'd create. Or what an incredible father he would be to those mini people. Or how much my love for him would grow over the years. Or how he'd still make me laugh. Or how proud of him I'd be.

Seven years ago I did a good thing... I married my best friend. And I'm so glad I did.

Thanks baby, for my morning surprises. And thanks for asking me to walk through life by your side. Thank you for becoming mine seven years ago. Thank you for making me your own. I love you. You are one of the best things that ever happened to me.

23 July 2011


Mike's paternal Grandfather passed on today...

It's bittersweet that he has gone, as if often is when dear ones grow old.

Grandpap Philip Edward

Father to four, Grandpap to eleven, Great-Grandpap to fifteen.

May 15, 1927-July 23, 2011

(photos of sweet moments taken last week)

19 July 2011

On the Go

We have been on the go go GOOOO lately. Which is cool and all. Well, not actually cool. It's actually quite hot and humid around here. Blech. But I'm not complaining cause we usually go from air-conditioned place to air-conditioned car to another air-conditioned place.


And before I show you just a few random shots of recent goings, let me please show you a picture of someone else on the go. Someone who I don't know, but who I gathered great joy from watching drive down the road in this:

This man was happy. I mean he was loving his convertible a few days ago when he was out and about. He had his hand out feeling the wind through his fingers. He was soaking the sun up on his bald head. He was so so happy. I could just tell. And God bless his heart, did you take a look at his car? Did you even know that they made Geo Metro convertible? Like, thirty years ago apparently? I did not know this fact. But this man was loving his. And I loved that.

Makes me wanna get one.

But wait.

If I had a teeny weency Geo Metro, I don't think we could fit all three cousins in the backseat together to go to story hour at the library like we did today.

The fourth cuz was riding in the passenger's seat in my sister's belly. I just mention that in case you dare forget that she is pregnant. Let me just take it upon myself to remind you!!!!

And while we're on the subject of card rides, please just take a moment to let your heart burst as you see my boy riding in the car on Sunday.

You MUST love him.

You must.

K, moving on.

This has nothing to do with cars or car rides, but here is my boy at the dentist for the first time! He was a little apprehensive about the whole ordeal but he did amazing!!! He made me so proud.

And the last one is a sweet shot of my girlie who has been terribly out of sorts lately cause she's pushing molars through her tiny tender baby gums. She let her aunty cuddle her today on the couch. And then I took a picture. Cause it's a rare moment, indeed, when my firecracker daughter will lay down for a cuddle when her two big boy cousins are playing God-only-knows what kind of crazy, loud, messy and fight-inducing game on the other side of the couch.

We're busy, but we're oh-so-good.

14 July 2011

First Try

Today I started packing. No, we're not leaving yet. But just because getting stuff done ahead of time brings great joy to my heart.

I had an packing opportunity to seize today and I did! My kiddos both zonked out this afternoon. Did I ever tell you that I stopped giving H naps daily about a month ago? Well, I did. But after a week of VBS in the morning and playing with nephew D in the afternoon combined with lots of other fun American summer activities, my boy is getting sorta wore out. And my girlie is breaking more molars, which means she's super fun, lemme tell ya. And she's tired too.

All THAT to tell ya that they both slept this afternoon SOOOOOO I did the big ol' dump all the extra stuff we bought for the next year on the bed and start filling a trunk thing.

It's so fun.

Trunk #1, if you care. Number one out of seven pieces of free luggage we get to take back. Yay! International flyers don't get charged for bags.

There is a God.

We always buy these big black trunks. Love them. Way cheaper than suitcases and just as functional. They don't have wheels, but that's no problem because we are WAAAAAY past being able to roll all our luggage up to the check in counter like we used to be able to when it was just me and Mikey traveling. We have to load up a cart (or more than one cart) with bags anyway and these stack as good as anything.

Gee, this post is getting long.

I really only wanted to tell you one thing.

And that one thing is about this handy dandy luggage scale.

And that it told me that the trunk I packed weighted exactly 50 lbs. ON MY FIRST TRY!

I'm so pleased with myself.


That's all.

Good night.

13 July 2011

A Classic Summer Evening

Fun summer evenings!

Don't you love them?!

Me too!

And tonight was one of them!

Would you like a couple more exclamation points?!


We were quite a bunch with Grammi and Poppi, our family of four, my sis's family of three (and a half), a childhood friend Kate, her fun hubby and two sweet kiddos too!

Dinner was hot dogs, tater tots and Grammi's delicious corn casserole. Duh.

Speaking of tots, which tot doesn't belong in this photo?

That'd be my bro-in-law. Remember when he got a new heart? Yeah. He's totally, amazingly healthy now. Like... playing golf, jumping on trampolines, making-all-the-tots-at-the-kiddie-table-laugh healthy! Thank you Jesus!

And here are the other two tots. These tots happily shared one chair at dinner. And I'd say they happily shared their dinner too, but it was really just Sweet N who ate Maggie's food when she had finished her own.

Maggie didn't seem to mind.

Maggie is so cool like that.

My boy chose to apply corn-on-the-cob eating strategy to his hot dog in a bun.

Maybe he likes to try new things like his Mom?

Maybe he got his All-American foods confused?

Maybe something else?

I have no explanation.

Then began after-dinner games. Like sprinkler running. Frank was a star at sprinkler running!

There was sidewalk chalking.

Love this photo. Love the color in little Maggie's eyes and in the chalk too! And that haircut! What a cute bob, wouldn't you say?!

(wink wink K & D... it really is great!)

There was also hop-scotching.

I deserve an award for getting two two year olds and one three year old to look at the camera and smile ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

Are you impressed?


Have you tried?

Oh well.

Also, look at how GREEEEEEEEN it is in this country.

A few times a day I stop. I look around. I stand amazed at the amount of green around me.

Then sometimes I sneeze.

Then I go back inside.


AAAAANYway... there was more chalking.

And these two had a long chat together out in the yard. Precious. I love munchkin talk.

And there was corn-hole. Would it be a summer evening with family and friends if there wasn't corn hole? I suppose. But a summer evening with corn-hole is a summer evening that the men enjoy more! Ha!

Oops. Forgot to ask who won.

There was even bug-watching. Ever seen a locust who was fresh from his shell?

We did.

And there was pool splashing with Miss Independent.

And after-swimming snuggles with Aunty.

The grand finale on the evening was a ride in Poppi's tractor's trailer.

They loved it. And that is an understatement.

Here are by babies (who aren't babies anymore, but I'm still gonna call them babies cause I'm in denial) after a rinse in the shower.

I think they had that tired, happy, satisfied feeling.

Then, during tuck-in, my boy H added "our new friends that we met tonight" to his usual list of people he wanted to pray for. I love it.

It was such a wonderful evening with family and friends who feel like family.

I have that tired, happy, satisfied feeling too.

08 July 2011

First Haircut

Somehow, I became my family's personal hair stylist. Not that I have any training. Not that I have any CLUE what I am doing.

But it's pretty much worked out okay for the past seven years since I married Mikey. His curly hair is forgiving.

And it's pretty much worked out for the past three years since my boy has been getting hair cuts. Toddler hair is pretty forgiving.

But I'm entering a new stage.

It's called cutting GIRL hair. And that is NOT the same as cutting BOY hair.

No, not the same. Not at all.

Sweet N got her first cut yesterday. It was time. Her bangs were in her eyes all the time.

Here's the before. She's pretty good at the 'before' makeover face, huh?

And here's the after! Don't you love that 'after' grin?

What you don't see in the in between is her fussing and whining and yanking her head in every direction whenever I tried to grab her bangs and hold them still. You also don't see a Mama freaking out cause she doesn't know HOW to cut girl hair. And a Mama that was way more freaked out about messing up her girlie's hair than she has EVER been about messing up either of her boy's hair. (Sorry honey. It's true).

But in the end, I did it! (It was only one snip after all!)

'High five little sis! You survived your first hair cut with Mom!'

04 July 2011

Happy Fourth!

I have to say... I love being in the country for this holiday! We truly have much to celebrate as a country. SO much to be thankful for.

We started the day out the hometown parade! I love hometown parades.

It was a little drizzly, so a great spot wasn't hard to find or keep!

Before the parade, I tried to get some cute photos of my kiddos in their patriotic outfits (thanks Grammi!) This one is good, huh? She's just so sweet!

But the other fifty I took were similar to this. Eyes closed. Upset face.

A looking-down-er and a scream-at-the-top-of-his-lungs-for-no-reason-er.

Still-looking-away-er and a silly-face-er.

Finally looking at the camera and a looking-away-from-camera AND still-screaming-er.

Then I gave up. Maybe I'll try again in ten years. Wait. They'll be a tween and a teen by then (boo hoo) and I don't think that they'll be much more willing by then.

Oh well.

I did get a shot of those sweet piggies! They're totally crooked, I know. But she's got the art of resisting Mama putting in pigtails down to a science and it's challenging, to say the least! I'll take what I can get, frankly.

Let's get this parade started!

I think we have similar hair genes, what do you think?

One time I told H "You should wave and say 'Hi!' to the people in the parade".

He took me seriously. Cause he did it at least once to EVERY SINGLE ENTRY the ENTIRE TIME. And loud! I think the firemen could totally hear him over the rumble of their trucks even!

I love that boy.

Not sure.

Come back!

My kids both had the candy gathering thing down. There was some fear ahead of time that throwing candy in parades had been outlawed. But thank you JESUS that wasn't true. Cause the candy gathering thing is just half of the fun of the parade. Even if we did just throw most of it away after I ate all the Starbursts.

Meeting celebrities.

And on a side-note, my daughter has no fear of dogs (real or costumed). Even bigs ones. In fact she loves them and wants to touch them and be licked by them. And she says 'wuff wuff' whenever she sees one!

After the parade we drove to the next town over for a family picnic. But the kiddos were pooped and zonked in the car on the way there and continued to sleep in the parking lot for at least a half an hour after we arrived.

Am I pushing them too much these days?


But I can't stop myself! There is just too much fun stuff to do in this country!

They can always sleep in Africa, I say, where there is little or nothing very exciting to do.

Once they woke up, they joined the picnic which included all these (second?) cousins! Nine of them to be exact. Including brand new baby Braxton. If you include the other three boys that weren't there and one more boy in the belly of cousin Lisa... that's more than a football team of boys, and only two sweet lil' girlie cheerleaders!

There was a long un-planned water fight between some little kids and adults too!

It was so much fun to watch! (And I stayed dry!)

Sweet N never got into the water fight, but she did happily play in this tap forever!

There were also wagon rides which my kids loved. I always wanted to be pulled around in a wagon when I was a kid (especially at the Zoo where I always saw other kids in wagons!). So I lived vicariously through my kiddos' wagon rides.

And then Sweet N happily pushed the loaded wagon around in the grass. Yes, she could actually push it and she was quite proud of herself too.

After the picnic, some of the party re-located to the firework spot to wait for the show. My girlie didn't join the fun, but went home with Grammi and Poppi instead.

Glow sticks are new to my boy.

So fun.

Not new to me. But still fun to me.

H has never really seen the fireworks before. He liked it but spent most of the time covering his ears. Unless he was shoving Cheese Nips in his mouth like in this photo. Even kids have priorities.

It was a great show!

Hard to see in this photo, but by the time the finale came around, H was face-down on the blanket with hands smashed over his ears. It was super cute.

When it was over we finally headed home and he was asleep in the car about 2.5 minutes into the ride with his glow stick in hand.

What a wonderful day it was.

Happy Fourth!