31 January 2016

"Take a Picture Yike Me"

Lil' A recently went through a long phase. She would often ask us to use our camera phones to "take a picture yike me". She would then stand in front of us slightly statue-like. Then we'd take her picture.

I think it might have been a ploy to then get the phone and look at her picture that we had just taken, and THEN use the opportunnity to look at lots of other photos that had been taken on the phone also.

She likes to have our phones. We don't allow it often.

But his usually worked, little stinker.

It also resulted in many of the following type of photos on our phones...

27 January 2016

Mister B's Newborn Portraits

It's never easy in my postpartum days to take newborn portraits of my babies. I actually never really did with the first two (sorry!), but with Lil' A and Mister B I did and I'm so very glad about it. Most of the look amateur (cause they are!). But I usually end up with one or two that I really love.

So here is way more than one or two...


He Found Them

He has hands and he found them.


And it’s such good entertainment. For him and for me.


I just love the little stages and milestone. Babies are such miracles.



26 January 2016

Solo Socks

It's a complicated process to move overseas. It's a bit different than a traditional move, at which time you sort your house and most things go in boxes to go in the moving truck. Usually at the start, a lot of effort is put into sorting and purging and the like. But often towards the end you run out of time and you literally just start tossing things in bags and boxes to be figured out when you unpack in the new place.We've all been there.

When moving overseas (where you don't ship a container or have a moving company help), at the end of the process everything either has to be
1. In storage
2. In your allotted number of suitcases you are taking
3. Given
4. Sold
5. Trashed

There isn't really a 'Ack I'm out of time and I'll deal with it in a week when we arrive in the new place' category. You could store boxes of unsorted junk, but then, you know... YOU'RE STORING BOXES OF UNSORTED JUNK. And that's just not ideal.

So all this means that EVERY SINGLE ITEM in a home has to be individually considered and must fall into one of these categories.

Every kitchen utensil. Every child's toy. Every single book (and we loooove our books). Each pair of earrings. Each baking pan. Every solitary holiday decoration. Every pair of underwear (x 5 people). Every card that's been given in the past few months. Every DVD. Every toiletry item.

I think you get the idea.


It's daunting.
It's exhausting.
It's humbling (very).
It's time-consuming.
It's stressful.

But it's good. It's a good process to go through I think. It's so easy to just keep adding 'things' to our lives without really ever forcing ourselves to make decisions like this and 'trim the fat'.  Good processes are often hard. This definitely is that.
All that to say that one thing that had to be sorted was the 'solo sock' collection. I had a drawer in my dresser that held all the socks that had lost their match.  Once the last loads of laundry were done (Thank you Mom!!!) and there were no matches for these sad socks, there was nothing left to do with them but toss them. They certainly don't fit into categories 1-4.

These socks are a mystery to all of us, eh?

Here they are. Three years of solo socks for a family of six. WHAAAAAAT happened to the matches? 

We'll never know...

24 January 2016

An Hour in the Life

So Mike is gone. He's in Asia and I'm here, newly arrived in the Middle East being a solo Mama to my kids for six days.

This evening was one of those evenings. So much was happening all at once it started to feel unreal...

All within an hour all of the following things happened:

-Most of us finished up dinner
-I hung some wet laundry on the freezing balcony to dry
-I picked up toys, including a plastic bag that A had packed with various toys and many dirty tissues
-B unusally started crying inconsolably
-Cleared the table of dinner
-Started boiling chicken to make soup tomorrow
-Washing dishes, loading dishwasher
-B still crying
-A runs to the bathroom "I have to go pooooottttyyyyyy" so I put her on
-Pipe bursts under the sink spilling dirty sink water on the floor and making a mess under the sink
-A tries to wipe her own bottom, but I reprimand her and the I wipe her bottom and she tells me "I don't eat poop" (?!?!)
-Starting worrying about why my daughter would feel the need to tell me that she doesn't eat poop.
-Emptied out everything under the sink, wiping up kitchen floor
-Getting kids in pajamas and telling them to brush their teeth
-B still crying
-Texting friends down the road and in Lebanon and to my husband in Thailand about the burst pipe, don't know what to do
-Trying to read books to the kids before bed
-Phone dies
-B still crying
-I'm shaking B on my lap and re-inserting his pacifier when he pops it out in an effort to keep him from crying
-Reading "Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle me too" to the kids, amongst other books
-Still shaking B on my lap
-Reading story of David and Goliath to the kids
-Water on kitchen floor
-A (who is right beside me) opens a box of wipes and spreads 10 of them neatly over the back of the couch and I don't even notice
-Then I notice
-A gets in trouble
-Big kids think it's a good time to have a deep conversation about Daniel's faith as a child
-We talk about David's faith
-B crying
-We prayed

Then into bed with all of them! And I kept my cool the whole time. This is major victory folks.

Oh. My. Goodness.

All in an hour. This is the life.

And B is still crying. Gotta go!

This is Really Happening

It's been here almost a month. This is really happening.

We are really setting up a new life on the other side of the globe. Again.

In some ways this has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. And in other ways grace has carried us through and suddenly we are almost a month in and I quickly have forgotten all the work it has taken.  So much progress has been made...
      We have signed a contract to rent a flat (apartment) that we will soon call home!
      We have purchased a used vehicle and are already driving all over the city.
      We have scoped out and budgeted furniture and appliance purchases.
      We have enrolled big kids in school and found a preschool for Lil' A.

That is truly a list to be thankful for and I do thank God! This is major progress in three weeks people. Like supernatural progress I think. And even in the midst of the HARD days with four kids at home in a borrowed apartment trying to keep up with diapers, dishes, laundry, meals, meetings, outings, shopping, Arabic language, etc... I realize that this is really happening. Life in this season with four littles can be so busy and unrelenting that often time goes by without any mental space to even think about what we are going through.

Then sometimes I get this weird feeling of perspective. I don't know how to explain in. I guess it's shocking to me that Mike and I can pray and talk briefly and then make a decision that eventually leads to us taking our four kiddos out of the familiar, comfortable, mostly happy life they have known for three years. Then we take them on a two day journey and then land in a mega-city in the Middle East and say 'Here it is! Here is your new home, okay?'

Occasionally I feel like a child myself, what am I doing make huge life-altering decision like this?!

I mean it seems like madness.

And it was just a simple decision that led us here setting up a brand new life. We hardly had to talk about it because it felt so right. A small decision led us to take one step towards a fork in the road, so we walked that way slowly and steadily and soon we have found ourselves VERY far from where we began.We find yourselves as a family of six setting up life in the Middle East, oh my!

How did that happen again?

It's also crazy how much work it is to pack up one's home into storage and fit needed/wanted belongings into 16 plastic boxes which do not exceed 50 pounds. Those boxes are then checked in for the same two day journey. Upon arrival, boxes are opened, contents are scattered, never again to fit into those 16 boxes.

Literally MONTHS of work and so many tears and so much stress and not just one fight (honesty here!) went into packing those boxes. And then we are here, boxes are opened and it's all over. Done. Finished.

It's just such a strange process.

Strange and hard. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm so grateful that we have each other. I'm also grateful for Whatsapp, iMessage, email and Facebook which truly make the world so much smaller. If only my days weren't so non-stop I could utilize them a little more. It's all a bit surreal at times. Will my children spend the rest of their growing up years in this city? What are the implications of that? Will we only make it a year? What are the implications of THAT? I have no idea and I can't think about it. I'm just excited to learn this city and it's people well like I did in Africa for seven years before. I'm excited to decorate and organize a new home. I'm excited to hear my kids start to speak Arabic. I'm excited to see my husband flourish in his work and life calling.

But I miss my old home and life and friends so so much too.

But I cannot stop this from really happening. It's so challenging. But it's so good.

23 January 2016

Quote of the Day

Today Lil' A was listing off a bunch of things she wanted for breakfast. Most of which weren't breakfast foods, of course.

At one point she asked "Can I have peanut jelly and butter?"

Haha. Almost got it.

She makes me laugh everyday.

20 January 2016

Quote of the Day

Lil' A was poking at my (still very postpartum) belly the other day. Then she laughed, looked up at me while still poking...

"It's like playdough Mommy!"

Oh my... I'm afraid she's right. Ha!

19 January 2016

Stretching Helper

I was stretching after my workout this morning and my little shadow was stretching with me.

I looked over and said "Wow! Look at you... you can touch your toes A, Mommy can't do that."

"I can do it for you Mama!" She says...

Haha, such a sweet helper! If only it were that easy for me.

18 January 2016

A Brave Girlie (First Day of Preschool)

Oh my heart... she looks so grown up here!

This girlie started preschool this week. It's an Arabic language school in another part of town that comes highly recommended. 

The first day I went with her and it was a tough three hours. That was only half of the school day but I couldn't take it any longer. There was a lot of crying and some chasing. Poor thing... for sure it's such a hard adjustment... so much 'new' in every area of her little life. And surprisingly, she hasn't shown much trouble at all adjusting to any of it. But the first day of preschool is hard I think, even if it's in a language that a two year old can understand.

Anyway, on day two the head teacher told me to not stay very long, which I was fine with because it hadn't gone very well the day before with me there. But I expected a difficult parting, at least.

So I walked her in, got her settled at the table with her yogurt cup, kissed her, said "I love you" (She said "I love you too") and then I left. She basically didn't care. Ha!

Then I proceeded to think about her ALL DAY LONG. Was she doing okay? Was she crying? Were the teachers frustrated with her? Did she understand what was happening? Would they use English with her occasionally? Did she get bored? Was she too tired? Did she understand that she'd be picked up soon? Would she nap? Did she have enough food? Oh my goodness. And all these thoughts from a Mama who is NOT a 'helicopter Mom' at all (at least I don't think I am).

But then she was picked up by a friend and we went to get her and she was SO VERY HAPPY. The report was that she didn't cry the whole day AND she laid down to take a nap during naptime. Amazing. She is so amazing to me. Such a brave thing for a 2 year old.

I'm a proud Mama of my strong girl! I think three days of preschool will be so good for her and for me too. And it probably won't be long until her Arabic is better than mine...


12 January 2016

Quote of the Day

When we were in the middle of our journey back overseas, we had a long layover in Amsterdam. We decided it was worth it with four kids to get a hotel room. Well, turns out a family of six must get two hotel rooms because they were pretty strict about how many people were in a room.

Anyway, the boys and I were in a room together. After we slept we cleaned up. Hudson was in the shower and I heard him singing "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring..." to himself in the shower. He had no idea I could hear him and that really tickled me!


04 January 2016

Meeting Mister B

My amazing friend and birth photographer offered to come back later the day of B's birth to capture the amazing moments when big sibs met baby brother. 

It was such a gift to have these memories. Such a special time. Thank you Jami!

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