“Relaxment… now dat is what I’m tawking about…”
-Sweet N, lounging in the bathtub tonight
So these photos are from September. They were in a folder on my desktop that was labeled ‘recent’. I intended to do a September phone photo dump in like, September, when recent wouldn’t have been a lie. But obviously ‘recent’ passed and now it’s four months later.
Better late than never, eh?
These girlies are around the same age. When all three of them hang out the cuteness cannot be handled. This was during a corporate meeting one day (when the weather must still have been warm!). Mostly they like to pull on each others headbands and ears and poke each others eyes and noses.
It’s the cutest.
Me and my boy. Selfie out and about. He’s so fun.
Here’s grin-head. The jury is still out on whether or not she is actually a happier baby than her big brother was. He’s hard to beat!!
Puddle jumping. So fun.
Me giving older girlie a ride. Yes, another reason to LOOOVE the Ergo Carrier. Carrying an almost four year old easy peazy! I think this was in Pueblo, where like to go occasionally.
She’s the best companion. And she probably just had milk before this picture was taken, which explains her glee. Ha!
Three kiddos in the big bed. This is a treat for them!
Gorgeous Colorado evening. Gorgeous Colorado baby.
Snoozing in the sling with Mama during staff meeting.
Sunset over Pikes Peak near our home. Breathtaking.
Mikey and I and the baby are in Montana for the week.
We left these four behind at our place in Colorado with the entire side of the fridge filled with notes and schedules and reminders. But I don’t think those were necessary… I think they are having too much fun without us!
What a gift Grammi and Poppi!!!
So we took this little girlie on her first airplane (outside the belly). She was a little squirmy. (Understatement!!!)
The good thing about teaching babies to go to sleep by themselves in a bed is that they (almost) always go to sleep by themselves when you put them down in a bed without fussing.
The bad thing about teaching babies to go to sleep by themselves in a bed is that when there is no bed available (for example… on an airplane)… babies have a very hard time sleeping no matter how completely exhausted they are!
But we made it with the little squirmers and it’s fresh and gorgeous here and we are so thankful for this opportunity to process all we’ve been through.
My other babies ate food (rice cereal) on their six month birthdays. This time around, I wasn’t so eager to start the baby food stage. And since lil’ A has still been nursing great, I just waited! Until a couple days ago that is.
Buuttt the time had come. I mean, the girl eats a whole meal of crumbs off the floor during the day, so why not give her the real thing!
Avocado was her first food. It’s perfect. So full of nutrients and healthy fats, doesn’t require cooking and its easily mashable. I’m a fan.
The classic grabbing the spoon.
Maybe she likes it?
She had a fan club while she was eating. She was being cheered on by her big brother and sister. They kept saying she was eating ‘guacamole’ which wasn’t very far from the truth. She actually did very well until she sprung this leak and then a couple minutes later lost all that she had eaten. Um, not bad for a first time? At least it went down. Nevermind that it came back up…
Sweet N suggested: “Maybe she’d like guacamole better with chips?”
Haha. Well yes dear, I suppose she might! That might be a bit further down the road though…
It’s one year ago today that we boarded a plane and departed our African home country.
I recall sitting in the car all loaded up to go to the airport in the wee hours of the morning. I looked up at our front gate and lighted stairwell and our front door at the top. The front door whose opening and closing sounds are etched in my memory. The front door that my kids stood by for their ‘first day of school’ photos. The door that heard a thousand “Keef, tamam? Inti quesa?” The front door that let in and out many dear friends and visitors. The front door I would decorate for birthday parties. The front door that allowed too much dust to blow beneath it. If I listen, I can hear the sound of the door opening and closing in my head and my heart leaps because that door opening and closing often meant that my love returned from a day’s work and was home for the evening. That was such a good feeling.
The approaching date of this anniversary has had me reflecting a bit more than usual. And in some ways I feel like my life is so very different from what it was a year ago. And in some ways I feel like not much has changed, apart from my physical location.
I guess it’s that our final season in Africa was when I really came into my own. I stepped into a new ‘me’. Understood myself more. Stepped up and into who God made me and the things He’s put inside of me. Using my gifts, just being me and God’s using me by just me being me. In that regard, I feel much the same on both sides of the globe. I’m still me and I always will be.
So I feel much like the same person. That’s good! I don’t imagine everyone who has been through what we have could say that. I’m thankful that my identity is not tied up in where I am. But I suppose that just because I feel mostly the same inside it doesn’t mean that I’m understood the same by those around me. I still get those moments, a year later, when I am reminded that I have a weird history. I lived where? I’m different is what I’m saying. I can always blend in and be fine and happy, yes, but inside I sometimes I just want to respond in Arabic, you know?! It feels so natural. But how many times can I mention this or that about Africa before people start tuning out? Um, like, once… MAYBE. But Africa is a big part of who I am. God used our time in Africa (oh no… too many Africas!!! Must stop or readers will stop reading!) hugely to shape who I am. But I often keep it to myself because few around me know that part of my life and I end up feeling silly mentioning it so often. I’m not bitter at all, it’s just how it is and that’s fine.
Aaaanyway. Enough about how I feel inside and out. Blah blah blah.
The other main components that make up my life that haven’t changed between continents are:
1. My family is with me. Halleluiah! Plus my baaaabbbyyyyy! Oh I love her so much, my strong little baby who went through so much in my belly. She’s in my arms, glory!
2. I adore caring for my family and my home.
3. I run a preschool. In many ways very VERY different. In some very small ways, the same.
4. I have joy!
Now, there were some rough patches in the midst, for sure. But the joy I had from life and loving and pouring out my life in Africa is the same joy I have here for the same reasons. That’s God’s grace people. He’s so good.
It’s been awhile since I burst out in tears over some aspect of loss that we have walked through. But when I think about that front door it gets me every time…
A year ago I walked out that door for the last time. And now I have no idea if others are using *my* door. Do children walk through that door? Does a wife’s heart leap for joy (or sadly, fear?) when a husband opens it? Are there toddler footprints in the dust on the stairs leading to it? Has a dust storm blown it open and there is no one to close it again? Something about that door. It gets me every time I think about it.
Doors. Chapters. Seasons. Open. Closed.
We’ve experienced loss. But we have been renewed. I have joy. Expectation. Vision. I have supreme thankfulness for all the beauty and ugly from those seven years and all he taught me. And I have supreme thankfulness for where God has brought us now.
I am in his hands.
(2010 desert road trip, one of my favorite memories)
My older girlie turned four last week!
(Birthday balloon in bed tradition)
A special breakfast setting…
So thankful to be with family to celebrate. Birthday pancakes are so much more fun with cousins!
Deeply involved in “Go Fish.”
Girl cousins to church in matching outfits… thanks to Grammi!!!!! Also, the whole congregation sang to her… must have been so embarrassing but she held it together!
Then to Chuck E. Cheese’s for a little special fun…
We had the joy of celebrating with our families at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in the evening.
I whipped up this simple little beauty for her…
And she might have spit on it as she was blowing out the candles. Woops!
She has been SO much fun lately.
One of her middle names means “Cheerful bringer of joy” and that is definitely who she is! She skips half the places she goes, makes goofy faces, sings made-up songs and just bubbles over with happiness (most of the time). She adores her baby sister and helps me take care of her and watch out for her. She loves to write her name. And paint. And do craft projects. One of her favorite things is making cards and delivering them. She loves to give things away, both as gifts and things she doesn’t need anymore. She has the best giggle in the world and will ask to be tickled again and again and again when we tuck her into bed at night.
Three was great. Four is going to be greater!
She is such a gift to me.
Happy Birthday Sweet N!