Sunday, March 27, 2011

 so i went to CO last weekend to ski, which was interesting. I wasn't worried about getting hurt, I was very careful, but breathing was such a challenge. That, combined with the fact that I have done absolutely no strength training, even very little walking in the past 6 mos, made for less than usual energy on the hill. But it was fun, and, as usual, i sure appreciated the food. there was a french bakery in the little town, which was amazing! croissants, baguettes, panini, crepes. so good.

 i know food at ski resorts is expensive. but i still nearly choked when my lunch here rang up to $10.07.

 david and des watched the kids for a few days while i was gone. thank you very much! i was a little concerned how charlie would do with the sleeping, but it wasn't too bad. they sent me this picture, above, on my phone. getting him all ready to help with the baby!

 the kids definitely liked patrick betther than me by the time i got home! the next day they kept asking for him. charlie really says daddy well now.

 just playing in the playroom, with one of our babysitting friends.

 hannah loves to "write" her name. its fun to see the different stages she is going through in the learning process. i think there are a few extra letters in there, but it's recognizable! (to me :-)

 patrick, david, and a few friends of patrick's went on a fishing trip this week. only one night/day, but he had fun. it was in OK, and apparently really pretty. They were after paddlefish, which I had never heard of before. But we have a huge bag in our freezer, so I hope it's good!

 i guess you can't see, but the sign for one of these runs was called "high anxiety." i did not take that one. there was nother called "bag of bones." really, where do they come up with this? i preferred frosty's freeway. which was also a black, just for the record. but happier :-)

 yes, those are runs. no, i did do them. and my dad and lar graciously stayed with me.

Believe it or not, it snowed this afternoon in KS. didn't stay, of course. we are doing well, baby is fine, as far as we know. charlie seems so old these days, he's just talking so much. can't understand much, but he knows what he wants. hannah is such a good helper when i'm babysitting, and enjoys the other kids. charlie isn't thrilled about sharing my lap, but i guess it's good for him. we are starting to look to easter, mom and bob will be coming to visit. hope it warms up soon!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

rolls and roles (warning: soapbox moment)

So the other day I made these rolls. Dinner rolls are my nemesis, as Patrick put it. I've tried a few times, no more than 3 or 4, and I've failed every time. Sometimes a miserable, inedible failure, sometimes just not as good as say, the freezer kind. These looked amazing, but it was downhill from there. but I was encouraged enough to give it another try without worrying i'd be wasting all the ingredients.

Fast forward a few days. I had really been needing to clean out the fridge. The fridge (and microwave) is one of those things I just don't get around to on an incredibly regular basis. it's enough of a struggle to keep the floors and counters washed. but the fridge really needed it. I'd been talking it up for a few days too, and Hannah really wanted to clean that fridge! So we finally got around to it, and she helped take food out so i could wash, then dry the shelves before putting the food back. it took about 3 min of this before she told me "it wasn't that much fun" and was going to go to do something else. Now at this point, many of you may gasp in horror and be tempted to call social services on me, but I requested that she stay anyways and continue helping me, until we finished our task. (I understand she's a child and her job is to play and learn, but in my opinion this fell in the learning category. not learning how to clean the fridge, but learning how to focus on a task, and finish it.) believe me, she gets plenty of time to just play! She asked why she needed to do it when she didn't want to, and i said something about how we each have our roles in the family, and that's why we need and value each other, and at the moment her role was to help me with this.

anyways, she (in a wonderfully mature way that i could stand to imitate sometimes) was fine with this plan. After a minute of silence, she said with the excitement of only a child who has just learned something new and wants to teach you too, "Mommy! there are 2 kinds of roles. The kind you eat, and the kind you do." This, in a nutshell (ok, a fairly large nutshell. maybe more of a can of assorted nuts), is why I've chosen to stay home with my kids. and to continue to, for quite a while.

There is so much Patrick and I want to teach them, not just academically but about rolls and roles and so much more. (most days, in regards to those 2 specific things, i can probably just say, don't copy me, and she'd learn her lesson :-). And i want to be there when she makes a new discovery. Not to say that we are all they need, or they don't also benefit immensely from spending time with others, mostly family members at this age. nobody cares about those teachable moments quite as much as patrick and i do. we may not be the most qualified, but God gave them to us anyways, and we are so humbled and thankful to be their parents.  i know this is cliche, but my time with them is so precious, i honestly do think it will take all 18 of their years at home. I know this doesn't mean much to anybody else, but really, in 20 years, you won't be re-reading my blog, i will. and maybe Hannah will. and i want her to know how proud i was of her, and how i never regretted a moment i spent with my children.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

friends or strangers?

Hannah is getting to the age where we needed to have the stranger conversation. Especially before we travelled through the airport last week, i wanted to make sure she was reminded about people talking to her she doesn't know. That's difficult to avoid, as many people do offer to help when i'm by myself travelling, and many people do like children. But nevertheless, we set some ground rules. So you can imagine she was somewhat confused when I approached people along the way we didn't "know."

In the Atlanta airport, there is an older Ethiopian woman who works in one of the terminal food courts. 3 yrs ago Hannah and I passed through there, we got stuck for 8 hrs. She was such a help to me, and every time we have the opportunity, we see her. Patrick has also stopped by, in my place. It means so much to her that we've made the effort to do that. She was just thrilled, and hugged me and the kids repeatedly, expressing excitement about the new one. Like many immigrants, if there's one Senegalese, there's probably more. The Atlanta Bread Company in the airport has always had Senegalese workers, and this time was no exception. I hadn't met these ones yet, but we talked anyways. There's another Senegalese man who works in a Dean and Deluca in Charlotte, and I met him a few years ago. He always tells me to come by and see his family, that his wife will cook for me.

While in the airport, I saw a group of people looking lost. A man and 2 women, both wearing pagnes, or wrap skirts in bright, colorful fabrics. As we were waiting for the elevator, they stopped in front of me, one woman unwrapping her skirt and retying, but still discreetly, however they manage to do that! It made me so nostalgic. I knew they weren't Senegalese so I didn't approach them, but the man tried to get my attention to ask how to get to the baggage claim. I found it for him, then asked where they were from. Like every immigrant does, he told me Arizona or some such place, until I asked where he was from originally. He said the Congo, and I told him why I was asking. His entire countenance and demeanor completely changed. His face broke into this huge smile, he grabbed my hand and made a traditional african handshake, introduced me to his companions, and asked after my family. I expressed regret that we needed to get to our next plane, and after enthusiastically wishing God's blessing on me, we went on our separate ways.

 Hannah could tell there was something different between me and this "stranger." She was concerned that I was acting so friendly to someone I'd never met before. I got down to her level to look in her 3 yr old eyes and wondered how i can communicate these important truths to her. What makes a friend? How important that handshake was to that man. How important it is to go out of your way to help people who are new to our country, who can't read signs or the money or anything. How so many people have helped me in so many countries. And what it means to someone to establish a connection with them, no matter how small, when they are in such a situation. I can never imagine what those folks have been through before they left their country, or how they made it to mine. I wish I could have done more for them. But maybe it didn't happen for them, maybe it happened for my little girl to start seeing opportunities, and start learning more about the big world in which she lives, and what she can do to be a part of it, to love the people in it.

In looking for a picture to illustrate my rambling story, i stumbled upon this interesting blogpost. if you have any connection to africa, you should definitely read it. i just copied this one paragraph, which i thought was funny and very apt!

"If you aren’t good at, or are in any way averse to, shaking hands then perhaps Africa isn’t for you. If you have a fear of regular and repeated hand contact with complete strangers, stay clear. It’s not only the plentiful quantity; the sheer number of handshake variations can lead to confusion and an awkward beginning. Like dancing, if you don’t know the moves, you’ll end up uncoordinatedly fumbling and fondling rather than achieving the desired, well timed embrace. . .
If you’re a computer game-player, perhaps it would help to think of it as a “combo” of smaller handshakes, resulting in a more effective, killer, finishing-move handshake! POW: FRIENDS NOW!"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

 charlie is getting so big! apparently he still thought he could fit in the dolly high chair. he's a little jekyl and mr. hyde, though. such a charmer lots of the time, waving and smiling and laughing, hugs and kisses. everybody loves him. and then. . . . the early terrible 2 comes out! he's a thrower; if you offer him something he doesn't want, he won't just refuse, or push it away, he'll take it and throw it violently on the floor. the messier the better. today he dumped the entire box of cheerios on the floor. he loves to put things in the trashcan. and loves loves to play in the dishwasher. he likes to put his own things in it, and then shut it. if you try to prevent him from shutting it, he gets very very angry. so feisty! he also likes to sit in a regular chair now, at the table. i know i shouldn't cave on things like this, but this morning i let him sit in a chair. the table was absolutely covered with yogurt. but at least he ate, i guess. he's definitely mimicking words, daddy, hat, poop, ball, bed. he and hannah are big enough to roughhouse now, it's so fun to see them playing together.

 in charlotte next week, we walked downtown for a little while. it was sort of cold, just because we weren't prepared, but it was fun. we found croissants, which is something i miss here, not that i ate them alot before. so we had baguette bread, regular and chocolate croissants. charlie apparently liked his!.                                                              
 my little man, just jumped right on this equipment thing and started operating it! he really enjoyed plaing with parker's fun big boy toys. huge smiles!

 it was much easier to get pictures of charlie, because he's slower than hannah. she was tearing around so much with her cousins i couldn't catch up. she learned big kid games like freeze tag, and had a blast.
 i thought they looked alike, but meghan said it's just the hair. both really blonde.

occasionally i see things here in pratt that not everybody else is used to. such as this truck going through the mcdonalds drive thru. cows and wheat, all over the place. or hay or whatever that is. (you can tell i'm still new here!)

NC was good, eventful. i got some super cute kids clothes (in my opinion) at great prices, thanks to my sister and her consignment sale. i also had a new experience with my first ever ambulance ride. I've been to the ER before in the middle of the night, and i waited forever. i have to tell you, the ambulance is the way to go! they start helping you right away, on the way, and then when you get there you get right in to a room. of course, i still ended up being there for 5 hrs, waiting on the doctor, then test results, but still, it's the way to go! (until you get the insurance bill). i woke up with stabbing pains in my chest, making it nearly impossible to breathe. a few other symptoms later, my dad decided to call in reinforcements, and next thing i know i'm getting an EKG just like i learned in school! they threw around a few options (heart attack, blood clot in lungs, broken rib for no reason) before settling on pneumonia. (I ended up getting an ultrasound, and baby looks good. right on schedule, 4 limbs and all.) so the pneumonia showed up on cat scans, and they sent me home with antibiotics and that was that. my family helped me sooooo much throughout the whole thing. meghan spent the night with the kids at the hotel, where charlie slept approx 1 hr. anyways, when those kinds of things happen and then end up being relatively nothing, it does make you more grateful, instead of taking it for granted. a few days of chest pain and some coughing was all.

we're back in KS, and i had a wonderful surprise to come home to. I'll get a picture soon.