31 October 2013

Punkins

Pumpkins in Africa were a bit different. The kiddos got pumpkins during a school field trip. H needed to paint one for school, so we went for it, even though I prefer the ‘classic’ look for decoration.

:)

Before:

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Artist at work:

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It’s a…

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MINION! Haha. I love it. He did so well.

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This is the best.

Here is another artist at work. Very happily at work, might I point out…

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She made a…

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STRAWBERRY.!!! She did it all by herself. So proud.

23 October 2013

Welcomed Home With Gifts

So, my husband is in and out these two weeks cause he’s taking some serious exams to complete the first year of his Masters degree. Mooooostly he’s out. But we get to see him basically one day a week.

Well, he came back this evening after three days away. As soon as he left on Monday the kids started preparing for his grand return. There was talk of cards and gifts and signs and all things surprisey. They were most excited about making gifts for him.

Tonight he comes in and I think maybe they make him go on a ‘hunt’ for his gifts. In a drawer in their room he finds several boxes that the children pulled out of the recycling bin. One of them had toilet paper in it that had been rolled up and taped (that has Sweet N written all over it, she has a passion for tape).

That’s all.

That’s it.

Those were his gifts. Merry Christmas honey! You sure were missed!

So he acts all happy and blessed. Haha. Crack me up.

On Monday when they were packing Mega Blocks into old spinach containers excitedly as gifts, I tried to talk to them about giving Daddy a gift that HE MIGHT ACTUALLY WANT. They didn’t seem to understand that idea and then there were tears.

So I guess they are too young for that lesson?

In the meantime, I guess we get rolled up toilet paper in a recycled granola box. Well, I guess that’s what Mikey gets at least. I never get any gifts from them because I’M HERE ALL THE TIME TAKING CARE OF THEM. Mommy is just chopped liver I guess.

Ha!

I love my kids.

(And don’t read my sarcasm as veiled bitterness… you’d be wrong! Taking care of them is one of the most favorite jobs I will ever have I my entire life, in case there is any confusion there.)

:)

21 October 2013

One Thousand

You can imagine my surprise two days ago when I opened my Blogger dashboard and saw this:

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Whoa there.

999?

Well by golly, then that means this here post must be number ONE THOUSAND!

I don’t often look at the number. As in, like, never.

What made me look two days ago?

I dunno.

But when you are writing post number ONE THOUSAND you can hardly ignore that fact and write about, you know, current events like my baby’s poopy diapers (don’t worry, you’ll get that one soon) or about the gorgeous day we had today and how my boy and my baby girlie spent over an hour in the sun on a picnic blanket and and crunchy leaves playing and laughing while my heart burst into a million pieces because it cannot contain all the joy (well, I guess that was a freebie). Or about how my hubs is pretty  much gone for two weeks straight to take exams for his Masters degree and I am alone with three kiddos again (you’ve heard that one before).

It’s number 1000. It better be good.

Well, let me tell ya a thing about good.

There is only One who is good.

Only one who is good and only One who brings good. And it is to that One that I dedicate this post. To that One I dedicate my very life.  To the the One that has poured so much goodness into my being (in the form of good times and challenging times, alike) that my heart truly at times feels it cannot contain it. The joy overflows. The gifts are abundant. The mercy unending. The grace undeserved. I have here one thousand stories of my everyday, in all it’s beauty and ashes. One thousand stories that make up the very vapor that is this life that has been gifted to me, by God’s grace and through His salvation.

One thousand stories of God’s goodness.

He, too, makes my heart burst into a million pieces.

To my Jesus, thank you for these stories.

Halleluiah and Amen.

19 October 2013

Vintage, Indeed!

Remember when I posted Lil’ A’s six month portraits a couple months ago?

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She wore this sweet pale green dress that I thought was a family heirloom…

Indeed, it is!

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This is my Mama, wearing the same dress for a baby portrait of her own!

I love it.

18 October 2013

A Wonderfully Normal Friday

Today we woke up to this. And yes, my friend and I still went jogging. Oh yes we did.

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In the afternoon, I took the kids to run some errands.

Their highlight was this…

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Best penny I’ve ever spent.

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Then came reading time.  My boy is reading Dr. Suess. What a joy!

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Whatever works. (Sweet N took the photo above herself!)

Then she took at least a dozen selfies like this one…

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And I encouraged her to at least make different faces if she’s going to take a bunch of photos.

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She obliged.

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And after the big kids were asleep. Baby girlie got up for some milk and some cuddles and some grins.

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What a wonderfully normal Friday.

I am a blessed woman.

15 October 2013

Goodbye Tours–Ozone

When we first moved to our city this garden coffee cafe was the only establishment of it’s kind in the city (country, actually!). It was western and clean and beautiful. I could go there and feel halfway normal. Over the years more similar places opened up but this was still a favorite.

Here’s some flashbacks…

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We celebrated our third anniversary there in 2007 when I was pregnant with H! Wow. That seems like such a long time ago. Makes me think about the history we have in Africa. And it makes my eyes teary and my heart a bit heavy to think of it. I moved to Africa as such a girl and returned a woman. I honestly think that is is true in a lot of ways.

These goodbye tours are hard. I think that’s part of the point.

Okay. I can do this. Deep breath. Thank you God for our years there. Thank you. Thank you.

Alright… on a lighter note, you wouldn’t expect this to be served in a underdeveloped African city, would you?

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I was always surprised at what they could do.

And unlike almost every single bakery I have ever visited in that region of the world… the stuff ACTUALLY tasted as good as it looked. Glory!

And another flashback, last summer…

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We loved this place because it was unbelievably green for the desert. Lush grass, palm trees and even a glorious fence circling the whole place so you didn’t have to wonder if your kiddos were going to race into the roundabout that surrounded the cafĂ©.

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It was modern and beautiful. And it has the cutest little patrons!

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So relaxing… :)

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There was a fountain and shade trees. Misters to keep us cool on hot days and twinkle lighting in the evenings.

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And clean space to run and move outside.

It honestly was such a blessing for many years. We’d stop by after church to buy fresh baguettes and buns. We’d go as a family to have ice cream and time together. I’d take the kids if we really needed to get out. I’d go alone for a break and to read. I’d meet friends there to chat.

But we had to say goodbye…

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We went our last week in Africa and the kids had one last run around the grass circle.

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(waving)

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Goodbye Ozone. We sure do miss you.

12 October 2013

Joy

Just the other day I was thanking God for all the joy and all the laughter and all the giggles we have in our home.

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Just a bit of time on the balcony on a gorgeous day… all smiles and grins. These sweet simple moments make my heart burst.

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I love my family.

11 October 2013

Corner Snoozer

My baby girlie does a funny thing…

No matter where or how I lay her in her crib, I very often find her snuggled in this same way eventually. It’s like her precious head is drawn to this corner like a magnet! She’s so funny.

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I don’t know what the deal is, but she makes me laugh.

10 October 2013

A Child After My Own Heart

One of the (millions) of super fun things about parenting is seeing your own characteristics appear in your children. Weeeeell, that is true except when the qualities you see emerging in your children are your own bad ones repeated all over again. Oops. That would fall into the category of one of the (million) challenging things about parenting.

In case of this post, it’s a fun characteristic.

As a kid, I remember making all kinds of preparations for myself. I LOVE preparations. I am a think-aheader. A do-aheader to the core. (Although I have to say that being a busy Mama of three does not always allow this quality to shine these days as much as it has in the past). Anyway, preparation makes me feel so loved and valued. It’s not one of the official five love languages, but it’s way up there for me. And not everyone thinks like that (and I don’t expect them to), so even as a kid, I’d often make preparations for myself. Just brings me joy!

Example 1: I would often choose my outfit for school the day before. That’s kind of normal, right? What was NOT normal is that I rigged up a contraption from my closet to the bed that delivered the clothes to me in the morning. When I’d wake up, I’d yank the string, clothes would slide down the string and arrive bedside where I could dress without even touching my feet to the floor. Talk about preparing for getting dressed in the morning! So convenient, right?

Example 2 : I’d sometimes lay my pajamas out neatly on my bed, pre-toothpaste my toothbrush, set it neatly on the counter and then turn down my covers long before bedtime. That way, when bedtime came and I was tired, I’d already prepared things ahead of time. Pull on pajamas, scrub my teeth and slip into bed. Easy peazy. It was only barely easier than doing each of those jobs actually at bedtime, but it just felt so good to me, even as a child, to have them done ahead of time. Just how God made me.

So, I occasionally try to disciple my children in the value of thinking ahead and doing things now so that it’s easier later cause it’s just part of who I am. But I don’t think I ever specifically demonstrated laying ones pajamas (and little sister’s pajamas, God bless his sweetest little heart!) out neatly on the floor.

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It’s apparently just in his DNA.

God love him.

08 October 2013

It’s That Stage…

Lil’ A is currently in that stage (that lasts quuuuiiiite awhile, I suppose) where she can get around and so she is getting into everything!

I am constantly looking around the house for where she has gone to now as well as scanning the floor for possible hazards like beads, coins, crayons, anything paper and apparently pumpkin stems (she found it first and chewed on it for at least an hour before we found it in her mouth yesterday…). My boy H also rescued her the other day as she had just found the toilet brush.

Oh my.

So here are approximately twelve hundred photos to really drive my point home…

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Exploring at the preschool.

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Toys.

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Toys.

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Curtain?

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Amongst the wires. Mama fail.

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Toys everywhere.

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Cutie.

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Left her toys behind for a roll under the table.

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Oops. Hit an obstacle.

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Playing under the heater. Can you spot her? Not recommended.

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Leaving her toys behind again. She loves those heaters.

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Toys AND entertainment.

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Playin’ in the big kids fort.

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Mama’s bag is always interesting.

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Little stinker pulled out the Yahtzee game, opened it and ate the scorecards. (?!)

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Craving a taste of the recycling bag apparently.

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Every baby’s dream. The tupperware cabinet!

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That grin.

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And today I found that she had climbed her way into the shoe closet (which was actually open because I was planning to return most of the shoes to their rightful home in the bedroom.) You can’t tell, but she was NOT happy in there. Screaming her pretty little head off. Maybe it was too stinky for her liking? Ha!

Baby girl is just SO much fun. What a joy it is to watch them grow.

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