30 April 2013

These Days–April

I’ve got some random photos for ya. They don’t have anything to do with anything… they are just too good not to share. And I get to be the judge of what is ‘too good’, okay? Okay!

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Melt my heart. Daddy and daughter. This is perfect.

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Booktime is a total fav around here. With extra friends this time… even better!

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Blurry phone pick of a silly girlie trying on Mama’s glasses.

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Mama’s little companion. This evening she snoozed on my lap while I got some work done at the table. I can’t get enough.

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My kiddos help me tote laundry up and down the hall each week. This genius solution came to me after H was complaining about getting the full basket down the hall.  String a pair of pants through the handle and voila! Something to pull. He loved it and I felt so resourceful.

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N’s selfie.

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The kids had a special day in Kindergarten and Preschool to make the parents a special dessert to celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day coming up. Here is H presenting me with his…

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And goofy N with hers.

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They were so cute, and so proud and the tarts were SOOOOO delicious. I wish I could have eaten them both!!

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Be still my heart.

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I need more French braid practice. My Mom and sis were the French braiders growing up and now my lack of practice is clearly showing…

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Sometimes my littlest one just wants to be held, but Mama wants to get something done. Once again the Ergo Carrier saves the day.

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What in the world is all this stuff?! Ha!

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My boy found a plastic holder thingy that I bought apples in in the recycling, rigged it with string and went around selling clothes pins. I love this boy and his imagination.

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We had snow in mid-April, and we might have more tomorrow… on May Day. Oh my… Colorado!!! I’d like to have a few choice words with you…

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We popped into the library a couple Saturdays ago and they happened to be doing a presentation on turtles. We happily joined in and my big kiddos sat like this for awhile.

I.Can’t.Take.It.

I love my family.

29 April 2013

The Swaddle

For some reason, at the age of two months, my daughter is now diggin’ the swaddle.

Here is some proof. More proof than you need. But proof that this Mama loves to show you cause my sleeping baby is just so dang sweet. Right Mom? Right!

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And this sleeping grin… oh. my. word.

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And just ‘cause, here’s one of my bright eyed girl wide awake and well rested from being all tied up in her swaddle…

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28 April 2013

Quote of the Day

“Your hair smells very nummy Mommy! Nom nom nom. I ate you Mommy. You are a gummy bear Mommy!”

-My Sweet N, who was feeling silly!

27 April 2013

Dear Abby

Dear Abby,

My children have a gift. I call it endurance eating?

Oh. My. Word.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a tiny bowl of cereal or a mountainous Thanksgiving dinner… they can easily at the table for what feels like an eternity. They sit there and do basically anything besides put a bite of food in their mouth, chew, swallow and repeat.

They start out cute and happy. They chat and nibble a little and giggle together. So I initially think “Awww, they’re so happy at the table together, they can just stay there as long as it takes… no problem!”.

But then.

But then they get tired and they starting picking and whining and aggravating and arguing and tattling and it goes downhill fast.  Then I find myself thinking “What do I dooooooooooo?!”

What should I do? Have a cut off time and whatever they don’t eat by then gets saved for later? Should I let them eat nothing if they say they’re full after two bites and let them be excused? (But then they come crawling back ten minutes later STARVING again?!). Should I sit with them patiently and calmly (I wish) and keep gently reminding them to please stop pulling each others hair and knocking over each other bowls and kindly take a bite sweet little pookey poo? Should I excuse myself and lock myself in the bedroom ‘til morning? (Please?). Is there something I am missing here? Some time-tested strategy I don’t know about?

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Help!!

Sincerely,

Pulling-My-Own-Hair-At-Mealtime

25 April 2013

Thank you, I think

Yesterday I braved the circumstances and took my three children to a sit-down restaurant by myself. God bless kids-eat-free coupons! (Oh, Mike is traveling for eleven days… which explains why he wasn’t with us).

I wasn’t sure how it would go, but it actually went very well.  The kids were very well behaved and the baby was quiet in her seat the whole time. I would even use the word ‘fun’ to describe it. Who’dathunkit? I probably should never try it again, however, cause what are the chances that would happen to me twice?!

Anyway, after we’d been there awhile,  a lady came up to me who had been in a table nearby with her husband. She told me that my children were very well behaved and she was really impressed. Wow. Thanks so much lady! They’re not always like this but it must be my lucky day.

Then she went to explain that when they watched us walk in she and her husband looked at each other and said “Welp, there goes our quiet evening.”… she continued… “But your children were so well behaved they didn’t bother us at all.”

Um, seriously?  Thanks lady. I think?

24 April 2013

“Wocks”

My daughter loves her “wocks” (rocks). It started many many months ago. Maybe you could say in Africa there wasn’t much to play with besides sand and rocks but that wouldn’t be entirely true. Just partially true. They were kind of everywhere and always free for the taking. We’d often have to stand by the gate and wait for her to dig through the sand so she could find the perfect “wittle wock” to bring in the compound. We could have tried to stop her, but frankly, it usually wasn’t worth the fight.

Do you know my daughter? ;)

Anyway.

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We found a collection of rocks stashed inside an oatmeal can.

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She’d go looking for the perfect rocks when we would visit the tea lady…

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…and then display them on the table (and want to take them home).

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She’d dig for them at church and carry them around in her shirt.

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She’d collect them during her Daddy’s football (soccer) game and put them in an old bottle (which was also scavenged).

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When we returned to the States, we discovered several rocks hidden in the dresser drawer.

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Recently she dug in rocks outside of church and we still often find her looking for the perfect rock outside the building we live in and find rocks stashed in the pockets of her school backpack and in her coat pockets.

Dear girl. Dear sweet silly girl. I love her. And rocks are pretty harmless, eh?

23 April 2013

Packing Up

This post is one I’ve been avoiding for awhile. But since I started down the road when I posted N’s birthday, I thought I may as well go ahead and do this thing.

So here goes.

This is us packing up and liquidating our dear home of six and a half years.

:(

It was only several days after Christmas when we got word that we’d have to leave.  Christmas in Africa was lovely, as always. I always loved celebrating Christmas in our African home. LOVED IT. It was so simple. So quiet. So different from all the commercialization and rushing and materialism that Christmas is so often in the States. Christmas in Africa is a wonderfully simple thing.

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We had a special hot chocolate and cookie night.

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We got dressed up for Christmas Eve Church service and took photos.

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We had friends over for Christmas lunch.

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And we just enjoyed time together in our home Christmas afternoon. Did I mention how much I loved our home? Do you know how long it took me to make it beautiful and cozy? Looking at this picture above, I can hardly believe it. I can hardly believe I was there just four months ago. That my life was there. That my kids grew up there and may never see it again. And it will certainly never look like that again.

Oh my. This post…

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Basically, we were in a great swing of things. We were loving life, loving our home and loving the place God had brought us into as a family.

We went from that to this:

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In no time at all.

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Empty. Ugly.

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In the past, families often have passed their homes and belongings onto a new family just coming in. We purchased another family’s entire home of furnishings seven years before. And often times those new families take over the lease of the departing family also.

There is something that would be comforting about seeing your things and your home get passed to the next family coming with a like-mind and like-heart.  All the effort that had been put into building a lovely home could be enjoyed by someone else, you know?

However, the situation in the country at the time didn’t allow us this luxury. Many were leaving with us and no one was coming. We had to liquidate. It all had to go. Our apartment wasn’t getting ''passed down’ and so we had to empty it.

It was painful.

And dusty.

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Really REALLY dusty.

And humbling.

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This is a photo of some friends who came to help carry our big furniture out of house to be sold. Only I hadn’t had enough time to even empty the cabinets, let alone sort. So they unloaded everything out into my kitchen before they moved the furniture. What could I do? The furniture had to go. It was hard. It all happened so fast it was difficult for me to give up my normally ordered and organized ways of packing and watch these friends move all my things for me. It was chaos. We were so thankful for help but it was hard. I had no control. Our departure date was approaching so quickly and there was no slowing it down. There wasn’t time to think, let alone organize and think clearly.

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Gone, before I could do anything about it.

We had at least eight huge pieces of furniture that had to be taken out of our place. We were on the second floor (above the preschool) so it had to go over the balcony. It had all come UP over the balcony so that’s how it was getting back down.

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Here’s the team on our balcony,

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Here’s the team down below, waiting to catch.

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Mike and Khamis (a long-time friend that helped us with lots of projects around the compound… a harder worker you never will find) drug a dulaab across the balcony.

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They rigged it with ropes and leaned it over the edge.

(Funny story here. The first piece of furniture that was set to go over had been taken to the balcony. He rigged the ropes all around it, tossed the ends over the balcony and told the guys down below to pull.  Really? It’s true. And he thought that was a good idea. Mike had to talk him into a different idea of keeping the rope ends up high and lowering the furniture down slowly.  He was a dear dear man and a very hard worker, but he maybe wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, Godlovehim.)

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And no one ever got hurt. And these things are HEAVY.

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And repeat.

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And repeat.

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Meanwhile my house looks like this.

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And I looked like THIS. Lord have mercy. 34 weeks pregnant.

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Happy Christmas photo in cozy house to…

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Empty room.

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Happy kids playing in our living room to…

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Happy kids playing in our living room.

Okay… so the kids stayed happy! That was good. But the house looked so awful empty. I hated seeing it like that. Hated it. Still do.

The contrast was so much. So fast. And it was all so final.

Aaanyway, we were blessed to have space downstairs in the preschool to have  a sale. Almost all of our things were taken down and somewhat thrown into various piles. For a couple days lots of people came to sort through our things.

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My boy took this photo. I spent quite a few hours down there watching our things go out the door. I (obviously) wasn’t able to be on my feet too much and if I was gonna sit it may as well be there. It was a bit of closure. I didn’t mind seeing most of our things go.  After some selling, a lot of the things were just given. It was good to see our things blessing so many people. They had blessed us for many years.

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The kids did very well at selling and giving their things away. I couldn’t have been more impressed with them. The home and life they had been accustomed to was literally disappearing before their eyes by the hour and they were awesome.

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They are such a blessing to me. I can’t tell you how many times during the process of packing and leaving I thanked God with an overflowing heart (and overflowing eyes) that my kids got to come with me. That they get to go wherever I go (at least for now). What a comfort. Thank you Jesus.

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It didn’t feel like a natural time to be uprooting to me. Duh. This baby and me. We went through so much together. Strong girl I had there in my belly.

The whole process was nine days beginning to end.

One day I felt like we had it all. We had dreams and plans and joy and homemade hot chocolate. And then we suddenly only had some suitcases and some airline tickets. And we had each other. And we had Jesus.

We boarded a red-eye flight and that was it.

Just like that. Six and a half years. Over.

Do I sound dramatic and sensational? I guess so. I try to talk myself down from being dramatic and sensational, because I don’t want to make it something it was not. But when I really think about it and I realize it was dramatic. And surreal. And crazy fast (although some had even less time than we did, God bless them). God poured out His grace and strength to walk through those days. They were incredibly difficult and painful. Confusing and exhausting. But He brought us through and covered us in grace in the midst.

And that was that.

I still can hardly believe it sometimes.

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