31 August 2011

Three Items of Business

Okay, so it's not really business, per se. It's just my life. But whatever.

Item #1:

There has been lots of packing going on. And talk of visas. And talk of airplanes. Duh.

Naturally my boy has been pretending all those things that he has been hearing us talk about a lot.


Here he is 'working' on our visas. (Tap tap tapping on the keyboard)

And putting them in his backpack. (Gee, I wish it were that easy!)

And then he promptly ordered the whole family onto the 'airplane' to fly to Africa! We obliged. He even buckled his seatbelt and his baby sister's seatbelt. Safety first, we always say. Ha! I'm so proud.

Then he exited the airplane on this bridge. I wish we could exit airplanes like this in real life. Sure would work out those 14 hours plane ride leg cramps!

Girlie see, girlie do.


Item #2:

I've obviously been up to lots of sorting, which includes all of my kiddos stuff that they've outgrown in the past few months.

And that includes these wee wittle shoozies.

I had a really hard time tossing them in the trashcan. She has another pair just like them in the next size up that she can still wear now. But this was the first pair of shoes that she walked walked in. She learned to walk in them in Africa and walked tons more in them all across Asia, at which point her tiny 'big' toe had poked through the front.

I loved it that her tiny 'big' toe poked through the front.

But... practical woman that I am can't see any reason to keep them now. So I snapped this photo and reluctantly tossed them in the garbage can.

Goodbye baby shoes. I'll miss you. (I still have the baby I know. Except I know she's not a baby anymore. But I do believe I will continue to call her baby. You can't stop me.)


Item #3:

Today's last topic of (very random) business is fitted sheets.

I can do lots of things well.

But folding a fitted sheet neatly and small is just not one of them. Am I alone here? Can anyone from my generation fold a fitted sheet nice and neat? Cause for some reason I'm convinced it's a generational thing.

Here's my Mom's folded sheet. So flat. Compact. Rectangular.

And here's mine.

No, I'm not kidding. It's about the best I can do.

That's all.

Meeting adjourned.

30 August 2011

Limbo - Part II

Plan A failed.

We knew it was a long shot so it's not a huge surprise. It's not a permanent fail, mind you. Just a hasn't-happened-yet-but-could-still-happen-at-almost-any-moment type fail.

So what plan are we going with?

Plan G!! (If you missed the long and tedious list of possible plans previously, bore yourself around the bend and back by clicking here to see it.) We're hoping it only takes a week or two of waiting until we get our visas and can fly on to Africa. In the meantime, we're hoping to be wisdom-leaches from co-workers we love and respect who have lived in Jordan (Yes, Plan G= Jordan) for many years.

This won't be our first time to Jordan. Mike and I have been there twice before. The first time was just a couple weeks after we were married. After our wedding, we had a perfect honeymoon in Mexico. Then we returned home for two days to chop off my hair (later I learned that bucket baths are possible for those with short and long hair) and pack for a long trip of visiting teams and locations in a few different countries.

Less than two weeks after we were married we were in Africa sleeping head to foot in a mini-bed in a mini-mud-hut that previously housed goats and chickens. Those goats liked to express their frustration at getting kicked out of their home with much gusto in the early-morning hours by ramming their heads into the door. And the chickens expressed their frustration by sneaking back in to the hut and leaving 'presents' under our mini-bed. Oh my. I am still in disbelief when I think about the week we ran the seminar in that village. It was my very first 'National Geographic' moment.

After that interesting experience, we arrived in Jordan on a very delayed flight. That meant our host wasn't there to meet us. So instead of getting a taxi to a hotel in the city, these two newlyweds put a sheet on the floor of the airport and slept alongside the cleaners and the Indian Sadhjus. Welcome to the Middle East! Oh yes, those experiences are both DEFINITELY worth a post of their own. Another day friends, another day.

Aaaaaanyway... here I am in Amman after I had washed the airport floor grime off my my freshly married self.

It was all SO new.

Look at us. So young! Two adventure loving, world-traveling newlyweds seeing the world together for the first time. Please pardon the lovey-dovey cheese. I love it! I love him! And I never would have guessed how much more of the world we would be seeing together in the future.

This is the Dead Sea. You know how they say that the Dead Sea is so salty that you can float in it without trying?

I confirmed it myself. Ha!

And of course we smeared the world-famous mud all over ourselves. You can pay a ton of money for this mud. But we just scooped it up from the bottom of the Sea, smeared ourselves and then glopped extra mud into plastic bags to bring home for our family and friends. We're frugal like that. "Merry Christmas... here's some mud!" Yeah. Everyone loved it, I'm sure.


And we've had flawless skin ever since.


As if.

Have you seen my face lately?


The year after the mud-smearing we returned to Jordan for a few months to teach English.

Mike bravely taught level 2. His challenge was learning how to speak slowly enough to get his students to understand the basic instructions in class.

I taught level 7. My challenge was leading the class in conversation while simultaneously praying that no one would use their near fluent English to ask me a grammar question that I had no clue how to answer.

We loved it!

Okay okay. Enough reminiscing. My goal was to tell you where we're headed and I've done way more than that.

We fly this weekend. It's gonna come real soon. And so the extreme-emotional roller coaster has taken me on as a passenger yet again. I regularly switch between packing and crying and doing last minute shopping and second-guessing and crying and organizing and generally feeling conflicted between the extreme sadness of leaving our families and taking the grand-babies with us and the excitement of being one step closer to getting back to our life and home in Africa.

This is just how it goes...

Jordan here we come for round three!

29 August 2011

Pull 'n Slide

Normally, one would call this classic summer activity Slip 'n Slide. But considering the light weights of my children and the general lack of slippiness on the actual slide, I have renamed it.

This occurred weeks ago, but I didn't want to miss my chance to post it. I figure once we've moved on from this country to another, this post would be deemed much less relevant.

As if you care about what I deem blog-relevant or not.

Cause is any of this blog fluff relevant? Did anyone actually ask to see thirty-five (not quite) photos of my kids sliding down a hill on a piece of plastic?

No, no one did. Not that I heard anyway.

Too bad.

This was the near the beginning of our time. Sweet N wasn't too keen.

But don't you worry, it didn't take her long to get cheery.

Cheery and CUTE.

Not that she wasn't cute when she was crying, cause she still was...

But can you even take-in all that girly toddler cuteness!

I mean, really. She's perfect.

And so is he.

Anyway. Here's the setup. Same hill I slipped and slid on when I was a kid. Only I'm certain it used to be four times that size. No. Really.

Here's the 'pull'...

the 'slide'...

And the 'splash'. The splash is the best part.

See? Girlie liked it too, eventually!

Does it get anymore fun for kiddos in summer than this?!

I can't take it.

Water in a hose. So simple. So fun.

Now was this the best idea you've ever seen? Um, not sure. Has good potential for fun and potential also for...

... uh oh, she's starting to tip...

...tipping more...

... and she rolled onto the ground and got grass clippings all over her. I promise they're not dead flies like they look like. And it's a good thing there isn't a vanity mirror installed at the bottom of the hill cause my girlie does NOT like grass clippings (or crumbs or hairs or lint or anything else) stuck to her hands. So if she could have seen what her face looked like it would have been bad news. (Even worse news than the clippings already on her hands, I guess.)

She recovered quickly.

And then these two had a try on their own.

I just love those grins.

I just love that backyard.

28 August 2011


We are in limbo. Again/still?! This is literally the story of our lives, at least for (a significant period of) the past five years, since we moved our lives overseas.

We're approximately one month delayed in our planned return to our home in Africa. One month isn't really bad in the big scheme of things, but despite our disappointment in being delayed... it's been a good lesson in patience and letting go of control and we have been making the most of the time we've had here. It's not all bad. But we still would really like to be back into our own family routine in our steaming dusty apartment half-way around the globe. (Did I really just say that?)

We have had many discussion in the past weeks about what do we do now? What do we do if the visas don't come in a day or two? Where do we go? What would be best?

Here is a list of various possible plans that we have considered, or are still considering. They are in no particular order.

1. Go directly back home to Africa straight-away after getting our visas in the next couple days. (Oh please oh please oh please oh please!!)
2. Buy a minivan. Tag it. Insure it. Pile our toddlers in it and drive to Colorado to wait there.
3. Fly to Colorado to wait there.
4. Rent a vehicle to drive to Colorado to wait there.
5. Stay in Ohio to keep waiting here.
6. Go to Cairo and wait there.
7. Go to Jordan to wait there.
8. Go to Uganda to try to get visas from the embassy there.
9. Go to Jordan to drop Suz off with the kids while Mike goes on to Uganda to try to get our visas at the embassy there and then returns to Jordan.
10. Mike fly to Uganda to try to get our visas there while Suz and the kids wait in Ohio. Then Mike returns to Ohio whether we get the visas or not.
11. Mike fly to Uganda to try to get our visas there while Suz and the kids wait in Ohio. Then Suz flies alone with the kids to meet Mike in our home country if the visas came through.
12. Mike fly to Uganda to try to get our visas there while Suz and the kids wait in Ohio. Then Suz flies alone with the kids to meet Mike in Jordan if the visas don't come through.
13. Crawl into a hole and wake up at Christmas.

Did you really make it through that whole list? It gets a big tedious towards the end. Kudos to anyone who actually followed all that.

If you 'count' using letters, that list goes all the way down to Plan M!!! Okay, okay... Plan L, since the last one isn't possible without medical intervention.

This is my life. Limbo is my life. I've somehow adjusted to this, but I still don't always like it.

I'm still rooting (and praying) super hard for Plan A.

Pray with me?!

23 August 2011

Quote of the Day

Today's "Quote of the Day" is a "Questions asked recently by my boy" version.

Does that still count as a "Quote of the Day?

Good, I thought so.

Question #1: "Mama? Where was I before I was born?"


Question #2: "What are our bodies made of?"


I do believe I have an inquisitive boy who is beginning a new level of inquisition.


How would you answer those questions for a three year old?

22 August 2011

The State Fair

A couple weeks ago I had a very fun day at the State Fair with these two.

They are of two of my favorites in the whole wide world, in case you didn't know.

Where is Sweet N, you wonder? Sweet N, whose other name is Firecracker, was wisely left with her lovely Grandma, who understands that although FireWORKS are common at the fair... fireCRACKERS in the form of little toddling girls are fairly difficult to reign in or to strap into a stroller for a whole day of walking in a crowded place.

You know what I mean?

Uh huh. I thought so.

We'll take her another time. Promise.

This one, however, loves the stroller. He also loves his sweatshirt and always wants it on with the hood up. Even though it was, like, 85 degrees.

I can't explain it.

But he was adamant about it most of the day.

Upon arrival, we mapped out our plan. We had lots we wanted to see and had all day to do it.

Let's begin (in no particular order.)

1. Lumberjack show.

Hi. Does this fellow bring back any memories fellow Ohioans? Cause when I walked past him I was 10 again, wearing Keds and begging my parents for cotton candy. I was also sunburnt, had on stonewashed cutoffs and a neon shirt with pony beads at the bottom of it.

Oh wait, that's what the girl walking past me was wearing.

Funny how fashion make the full circle. If only I'd kept that shirt...

Anyway, gotta love Smokey Bear and the willing kid who sits hidden in Smokey's tree trunk and talks to the kids through a speaker system thoroughly confusing them and freaking them out day after day.

Yeah. It took me back.

But our destination wasn't Smokey Bear. Smokey Bear was a means to an end which is another Ohio State Fair (ANY State Fair?!) classic and must-see...

The Lumberjack Show! Sawing contests and

log rolling. Fun!

And loud. At least my (hood wearing) boy thought so. But then again he covers his ears at the sound of a bubble blowing machine, so you never can trust his decibel judgement.


2. Rides!

H hasn't riden rides much in his life and he has a bit of fear and trepidation, so I was often his chaperone. Which was okay with me. Now if he had wanted to go on the Scrambler, then I think I would have had to put my foot down. My stomach just can't handle what it used to. I blame it on the frequency with which I tossed my cookies during my pregnancies... but who knows really?

The Merry Go Round I can do! We had a ball. My boy was giggling most of the time. It's the simple things, huh?

And then there was this, the Giant (Super?) Slide. Uh, it's pretty big! On the way down I did not hear sounds of glee from him. I heard some of that fear I mentioned before.

See? Poor little dude.

But by the time we reached the very end he was grinning.

Kids are funny that way.

Gotta love 'em.


3. Let's take a walk down this road, k?


The good and the gross, coming your way friends.

Um, really? No thanks.

Apparently that appeals to some people.

Pig wings? Also not my thing. Not to mention how confusing that must be to the kids...

What about? Muddy Pigs = Chocolate Covered Bacon.


Excuse my language.

Now deep fried S'mores I could do.

But deep fried BUTTER? Could someone enlighten me?

Cause I just don't get it.

Not at all.

Now this, I get.


I stepped up to order.

And honest to goodness I tried to order less than five.

But five was the minimum order.

For realz.

What? You don't believe me?

Would I lie to you?

I wouldn't.

She seriously wouldn't let me orderless than five deep fried buckeyes.

Oh darn.

There she is throwing them in the vat of oil. Nice.

I could have topped them myself and totally would have, except that I knew that if I wanted these toppings on my deep fried buckeyes that I may as well dribble chocolate sauce all over my boy's shirt and sprinkle powdered sugar on his head while I was at it.

And I'm just not that great with a stain stick, so I passed.

I know. Shock of the century. My mother-in-law doesn't believe me right now that I passed on the chocolate syrup. But it's true!

By the way, do you outta towners even know what a buckeye is?!

Cause if you don't, you're TOTALLY missing out.

So google it and go make yourself some.

You'll never regret it.

But don't come to me when your pants don't fit anymore.

It's not my fault.

Yum. (This is a severe understatement, but it's getting late and my clever adjective usage is waning by the moment, as if it was ever good in the first place.)

Wait! Before I leave the subject of deep fried foods, here's one more for ya.

Interesting. Maybe next year.


4. Pigs sculpted out of chocolate.

Um, waste of chocolate?

Sorry dude, I appreciate the gift you have for molding chocolate. But wouldn't paper mache have served the same purpose and you could handed out a free chocolate bar to each passer-by? Cause now who is gonna wanna eat that chocolate after it's been sitting in that hay (straw?!) for a week?


Well, I guess I probably still would eat it.

Is that weird?

I'm not afraid of your everyday average germs and I really love chocolate, what can I say?


5. Decorated toilets?

Somethin' for everyone, I guess.

No further comment.


6. Cake contest

What?! I can't eat those either?!



8. Cooking show. Healthy gourmet! Yippee!

Do you know the best way to enjoy a good healthy cooking show?

While eating a funnel cake. That's how. But I assure you, it's a healthy funnel cake. It's made with whole wheat flour, natural honey sugar particles and fried in wholesome organic hand-picked almond/soy oil that was not tested on animals.

Can you see me giving you a very eager and exaggeratingly convincing nod?

Uh huh.

And that about wraps it up folks.

Nitey Nite.

p.s. Would anyone like to sponsor me for a Weight Watchers membership? This request is entirely unrelated to this post, promise.