31 December 2011

Cousins Snoozin’


My boy and my sis’s boy had their first sleepover the other night. They did really well! Not well enough that we have repeated it since that first night… but there is a first time for everything, right?!

29 December 2011

Two Today

Today our Sweet N turns two. Two years have flown. How we love our tender little firecracker!


Mom and Dad visit 5 231


Happy Birthday sweet girlie! We love you so!

22 December 2011

Just a Lil’ Somethin’…



Here’s just two lil’ somethin’s that Santa’s elf whipped up tonight, after she shopped in Santa’s elf’s mother’s (got that?) craft/sewing room and put the little tots to bed to dream of sugar plum fairies.

Speaking of fairies… that is what the multi-colored skirt looks like to me. A fairy skirt!


These are skirts, in fact, which I realize you might not know since they are not yet pictured on their cutest-ever almost-two (gasp!) model. Tutorials for simple no-sew skirts like this are flying all over the internet like pigeons fly all over that one famous square in Venice. (What’s it called again?)

Aaaaanyway. SUDDENLY, I’m fourteen thousand times MORE excited (if that’s possible) for Christmas morning. I don’t even care how badly my back hurts from hunching over the floor cutting fabric for a couple hours.

Honestly, these two lovelies just might be the clincher as to whether or not we make it to church on Sunday morning. I wish I were joking. But I may not be. I can’t wait for Sweet N to open them!! I’ve already thought that I should dress her in something that will match these skirts (that maybe means no red), cause she’s probably going to want to put one on (she BETTER want to put one on…or else... Ha!) and who wants to clash on Christmas morning photos?! I mean really. Sorry people, that’s just how I think.



Also, it’s a good thing my daughter doesn’t read blogs. Cause then her surprise would be spoiled and spoiled surprises are no fun at all.

These are just two of a handful of handmade gifts I did this year. I do LOVE LOVE LOVE to give handmade gifts. If I actually had a little stability in my life I might have been able to produce many more. Okay, and if I didn’t have two small kiddos in my life (hellOOOO!)… but I’m not complaining! Oh no I am not.

I’ll show you more handmade gifts later. I’m surprised I’m even posting this one ahead of time. But you see, I’m so dang excited and Mikey is out late at a basketball game so I can’t show him and watch him try to figure out what to say about a girly dress up skirt and what he thinks I want to hear about these girly dress up skirts (did I get it right wifeys?) and so I had to share with someone

So, is anyone else whipping up handmade goodies to give away? Do share!

20 December 2011

The Fireball

6:24 am.

We had woken an hour and a half before. Final preparations were made. Bags were checked, double checked and zipped once and for all. Teeth were brushed. Sleepy kiddos were roused, dressed and had said goodbyes to their friends and house-mates of two months. My girlie and I sat in the back of the hired taxi. Mike, H,our friend (driving) and our seven bags had all been loaded into the car behind us.

The cars was headed for the airport and the road was growing brighter by the minute. There was conflict in my thoughts and soul over our bittersweet circumstances, confusion in the midst of the continued uncertainty of the past four months of our lives.

“When will we return to this region of the world?” I wondered to myself. “When will I again hear Arabic and speak Arabic, this language that I have become so accustomed to?”

I begged God. “Please don’t let this be the end of this season of making our life in this region of the world. Please don’t let this be the end!” And then I instantly wondered if it’s pride that doesn’t want to let us settle again in America. I know pride is not worth it. “But don’t let this be the end. I want to continue to make my life overseas, Jesus. We all do.” Tears welled up in my eyes. They had brimmed over from my heart.

The sun was rising. The fireball was growing brighter and my thoughts wandered.

I thought about how I’d changed in our last three months of wilderness-wandering in Jordan. How God stretched me. Taught me. Grew me. I have faith that He did much more inside of me than I was even aware of. Though it was one of the most challenging seasons of my life, I am confident that God allowed my roots to go deeper in the midst of it.

I was interrupted from my thoughts from the taxi driver who had apparently begun to feel chatty. “You are from America?” he asked.

“Yes” I said.

“Why are you leaving Jordan?” he wonders. “You have two baby?” “From where in America? New Jersey?” “You see Petra?” “Jordan good?”

I answered those questions and more with a huge grin inside my head, if not spread across my face as well. These broken-English questions have also become a part of my life… a fair skinned and haired lady an obvious foreigner living in a olive-skinned land with two toddlers. The goateed husband throws them off sometimes, but I don’t think we fool anybody, really. My words were returned to the taxi driver in the same broken English that they were asked in. This assures that I am understood, which I was. Our lifestyle has provided many opportunities to perfect the art of speaking with those who have English as a second language. Just one of many useless (or maybe not) skills I’ve learned in the past several years. I asked God again “Please don’t let this be the end…”

Then my daughter looked over to me with her wide blue eyes, “Kiah byebye?” she asks.

“Yes, sweetheart, we had to say goodbye to your friend Kiah. You’ll miss her, won’t you?” Even my peanut of a girlie understood that had said our goodbyes and that we were again, moving on.

“Yeah” Sweet N answered, in her soft gentle not-yet-two year old voice. She’s spent more than a quarter of her life bouncing around the world waiting on visas now. How I long to have routine and a proper home for her. She’s said many more goodbyes than her short life should have to allow for.

The sun was rising higher and it was nearly blinding by then, burning over the horizon. I felt God’s presence with me, even in the midst of the confusing swirl of emotions I was experiencing as we drew closer to the airport. Though I was feeling a bit lost and confused, I knew His closeness. I wanted to hear from Him. I needed to hear from Him.

I turned up my iPod with one earbud in one ear. It was Shane and Shane. This is what I heard…

Your mercy reigns
Your mercy comes
Your mercy falls
And rises with the sun

It’s new every morning
It’s new every morning
It’s good enough for me

I got it. I heard Him. Mercy. His mercy was rising with the sun. It was rising THEN with the fireball of a sun that was blinding me at that very moment. His mercy was pouring out of the sun whose brilliance could not be ignored. His mercy was covering me in light. His mercy has reigned, WILL reign as we continue to wait for the pathway to be shown in front of us.

I will abide in Your love. Your love.

I will abide in His love. Wherever I am in the world. Whatever I am doing. No matter how much confusion there is. No matter how long we have to wait. I want to abide in His love and live fully aware of His daily mercies as we continue to wait for our visas from the other side of the world.

That day, especially, I needed the personal assurance of His mercy as we bid our favorite region of the world goodbye, unknowing of when we might set foot on it again. And now, as we continue to wait with eyes peeled for that path in front of us to be revealed, we continue to walk in His mercy. It’s new every morning.

17 December 2011

Tried and True Recipes: Carrot Apple Muffins

Glory to Joy of Cooking for this one.  It’s new to my repertoire, but upon first taste, I knew it was a keeper.


1/2 c pecans or walnuts, toasted (or use no nuts, like I usually do)

2 c grated raw carrot

1 large apple, peeled and grated (I did 2)

2 c flour (I usually mix white and wheat)

1 1/4 c white sugar (or less

3/4 t baking soda

1 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1 1/2 t cinnamon (or more)

3 large eggs

3/4 c oil

1 t vanilla

Whisk all dry ingredients together. Separately mix the three wet ingredients.  Combine dry and wet, along with the grated produce together, mixing only until moist.

Put in muffin cups (makes around 18 normal sized muffins).

Bake 20-25 mins at 350 (180 C).

16 December 2011

In My Inbox

Here’s an email I got from my husband yesterday.


Titled: URGENT instructions to be followed

Don't log into Amazon, Yahoo Mail or open any boxes that arrive with your name on them until further notice or Christmas.

Thank you.




Gee! I wonder what it could be?! I love surprise gifts!! 

Also, I love my husband. He’s been making me laugh so much lately and I’m so thankful.

13 December 2011

Quote of the Day

"We're Americans, so we throw toilet paper in the toilet."

-my boy H, stated with a hint of patriotism in his voice

12 December 2011

Guess What?

We’ve changed locations.

Guess where we are?!

I’ll give you some hints.


Hint #1: Note that my daughter is in an actual CAR SEAT (and she fell asleep hugging a Santa hat, but that’s beside the point…)


Hint #2: Note my daughter’s wardrobe.


Hint #3: Note what was on the television in the background.


Hint #4: Note the scenery and the necessary outerwear.


Hint #5: Repeat of Hint #4, but with a cute girlie in a cute monkey hat this time (thanks Frames!!)


Hint #6: Note how my children were sleeping recently at dinner time.  DINNER TIME?!! Is that a hint?  Let me suggest, could it be jet lag that caused this kind of strange behavior out of my children? Hmmmmm.


Hint #7: This little guy!!  In person!!!

K, if you don’t get it by now, then you can’ t read!

We’re in OHIO!!!

I know, I know… aren’t we supposed to be in Africa by now?  Yes, we’d like to be. But with no visa news and the holidays approaching we decided to come home to be with our families for Christmas and continue to wait from the U.S.

All the plans were made very quickly, leaving us with only one day to pack up the last three months of our life in Jordan and plan our arrival in the U.S.  I decided it would be a shame to pass up this unique opportunity, so we pulled off FOUR big surprises on all four grandparents the day after our arrival. It was so fun and they were REALLY surprised (understatement?).


First stop was Mike’s parent’s house, where his Mom was at home. I thought it’d be cute to put the kids in gift bags, set them on the porch and ring the doorbell. And it was a cute idea, but not so cute in actuality when Hudson fell over and hit his head on the concrete and Noelle cried because I only gave her one ‘keep-her-quiet fruit snack’ instead of two (one for each hand… do other people’s toddler’s demand one snack for each hand!?).

Grandma was pretty happy!


Then we drove downtown to surprise both our Dads at their offices! Here’s mine!


Both times my little boy ran into the office yelling (in a four year old munchkin voice) “Poppi!!!” or “Grandpa!!” and each time our Dads looked up with a look of complete disbelief and frankly, confusion!! Ha!


Grammi was lucky last, cause we were ready to hunker down there for awhile after a couple days of craziness. Unfortunately the kids had fallen asleep in the car on the way home and weren’t feeling so happy about pictures.


Indeed, we are home for Christmas for the first time in six (SIX?!) years!