Saturday, March 21, 2009

we finally got something good from freecycle! my plan is that in the absence of watching tv, my kids can create their own entertainment. of course, initially, they might need some help, so that will motivate me to do this with them. I can't wait for Hannah to be old enough to put on puppet shows and other things, like eventually a politically commentary newshow or something :-).

somewhat accidentally with the first weekend of spring, everybody decided to clean up their yards this weekend, us included. it's hard to be quite as motivated if you're just renting, but patrick did a great job! even found room for the sandbox, flowerpot, picnic table and barbecue on our tiny little cement deck thing.

we bought a potty! i gave it one day, then decided we're going to wait. suffice it to say though she finds it entertaining, she doesn't have a clue what's going on. but she does like carrying it around.
hannah loves playing in patrick's toolbox. she isnt' actually allowed, but we let her long enough to take this picture. can you tell her pants are a little too big? :-) we got a jacket last weekend from jeana, that used to be denton's (patrick's cousin). I love that Hannah can have it now! a tad big, but she likes it! she also knows denton from his picture in our photo album.
i clean the rest of the house every day. hannah is at the age where I have time and energy to do that. (I keep thinking of when the baby comes and I will go back to rarely cleaning and taking real showers, never picking up a book or doing my nails. at least now i know that stage passes!) the playroom, on the other hand, is it's own domain. she is into everything, so if somethig is missing you have no idea where it's going to turn up. the other day i needed my footscrubber. (i multitask while doing a pedicure when she's taking a bath.) couldn't find the blasted thing anywhere. i thought about cleaning up the playroom looking for it, but, you know. i finally bought a new one. then it turned up in the spare bedroom, under the bed.

unless she's wearing something that snaps at the bottom, this is what i find when i go to get her up. recently she actually proudly proclaimed "diaper off, mommy!" um, yes i see that.

this is my haul from tracking down a senegalese person here. i've found out that hair salons are your best bet. just like nail salons are for vietnamese. africans open up hair salons. i'd spoken with her over the phone, and we decided to go into the city and meet. in true fashion, she actually left her shop in the care of her son and we went over to her house. lunch wasn't ready, but she had some mafe in the fridge that she sent home with me. also a bag of piment peppers, and incense. unfortunately, it was too spicy to eat. my tongue has been back in america too long. she used her microwave to cook ceeb bu jeen, and a deep fryer for other traditional things. that's a true african american :-). it was fun. inspired me to try cooking it myself again. she invited me to a baby naming ceremony this weekend, which started at 9pm and went till 2 or 3, apparently. i tried to explain that my child would be in bed then, and then i remembered that's so uncultural it was probably a useless argument. african babies just go wherever, and pass out wherever. even toddlers. a random fact i haven't mentioned: when we were in colorado, we went to walmart to get lunch supplies. walking up, i hear wolof. at first i think it's the altitude. but no. apparently, there's a little senegalese colony there, all at walmart. 10 or 15 of them. it was the craziest thing. in the middle of nowhere. and COLD. it's a small world. it was fun for me and them, i think. i also heard pulaar (another local language) for the first time since i've left senegal, and that brought tears to my eyes.

we drew grandma jan a picture, and sent it to her with a family picture to cheer her up. then it arrived on the same day we did! we just decided saturday morning and left saturday afternoon, then came back monday morning. she is doing so well, we are so proud of her! i was amazed at how up and around and active she was. so the recovery's going well, and they are going to do a little bit of chemo.

the other day we made pumpkin banana raisin flax muffins (don't look for the recipe, i kind of made it up.) when hannah saw me taking them out of the oven, she went to get her own oven mit out of the drawer, saying, hot. she picks up on so much! apparently they met with her approval. she is learning so much. she puts words together a little, like daddy home. or hug daddy. or anything with daddy, really! she is still very determined and strongwilled. and just plain old strong! she loves to sing, we get new cds from the library to listen to. she's already learning lots of sunday school songs. isn't a big fan of veggie tales yet. for some reason she doesn't get the humour :-). she likes to put on lotion, brush her hair, and even cut her nails now. she knows everything that i do. it makes me so grateful that i am with her all the time. see, she already knows how to make muffins. she can bring me my shoes, put her own shoes away, put her books away, get a bowl or a spoon for herself, so many things. it's amazing.
new baby hasn't yet made his presence known. we have a sonogram scheduled, but there's a good chance it'll be too early to tell. gaining ridiculous amounts of weight for only being 4 mos, so i now definitely concur that every pregnancy is different. we are going to charlotte next week, so should have good pictures from there!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

greetings, y'all! we are doing well in our little corner of texas. Staying busy, and growing. (all except patrick :-). thought i'd share a few memorable moments of the past little while. patrick joined the church softball team, and has had 2 games so far. they are 1 for 2, but we won't see him play much. the fields are practically in our neighbourhood, but all after Hannah goes to bed. But we wish him luck! He said if we have all girls he can eventually have his own little cheerleading squad.

we went to the batting cages last night before his game, and it was late so i fed Hannah in the car. Some people might feel guilty if they make their child eat a hard boiled egg, carrots, whole wheat pasta, and grapes while they eat sonic. not me! because i'm fairly certain. . . .

that God has given me the most beautiful child He ever created. Biased? Of course not. She's become the bag lady. She likes to load up all of her stuff she can carry, even though she loses a trail as she goes, and walk around saying bye like she's going away. it's pretty funny.

poor girl, she's already getting it; the dreaded 'wow, she's so tall!'. I feel like saying, uh, yes, what did you expect. but she really is. she's taller than all the two year olds. so when you finally see her, comment on something else!

so we're on a potty kick. she doesn't actually use it, just likes to talk about it. she loves her potty books, and always says 'potty-potty' and pulls her pants down. so far we haven't had any serious messes yet!

last week, hannah helped me with a very exciting task: our first milk donation! someone right here in frisco, actually. these two bags will only last a few weeks, but it's a start!
chowin down on peas. she'll eat peas by the handful.

in my limited exploration of the blogger world, i've noticed most people that put up food/recipes tend to do things like millet pancakes, or kale and barley soup. the crisps here, on the other hand, like to do cinnamon sugar pretzels and cheeseburgers/sweet potato fries/coleslaw/chocolate milkshakes. now i ask: who's house would you rather come to for dinner? :-) (can you tell i'm pregnant?)
we'd been wanting to make pretzels for a while, and while not exactly like auntie anna's, they were pretty good. i do want to make another attempt though. those disappeared rather quickly. the cheeseburgers and milkshakes were amazing. patrick experimented with the coleslaw because we didn't have white vinegar. apparently apple cider vinegar can't be substituted!

As usual, we haven't taken pictures of everything going on. my trip to the dentist, for instance. always a blast. we had our first missions awareness meeting sunday. i had a great time decorating our little coffee shop room. patrick made our snacks, and we were uber-prepared - for the 3 people who showed up. :-) but that's ok, you have to start somewhere. next month it's central america. i'll have fun learning about there. also, i've started my little door to door advertising job. each month i put together bags of information, then take them to families who have recently relocated. i can work around my schedule, as long as i get it done by the end of the month, which is great. we have a busy few months with family that we're looking forward to. we're going to charlotte where hannah will meet some of my dad's family for the first time, in april. then mom and bob are coming here, and we are very excited! then we are going up to kansas for memorial day. brett and jes will be there too.
speaking of Kansas, I will close out today to ask you to pray for Grandma Jan (Des' mom). in the whirlwind of the past few weeks, we found out she has fairly advanced breast cancer. she's having a double masectomy as we speak. hopefully that will be the end of it, but there is the possibilty of chemo or radiation as well. she's pretty strong, we just wish we could be there with her right now. thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, March 02, 2009

anything is better than nothing

You may have noticed, or not, that i've added a few links. the first requires no explanation to most of you. The IMB, International Mission Board, is the sending agency of the Southern Baptist Church. They have over 5,000 personnel all over the world; i was privileged to be one in Senegal, temporarily. Sure they have their issues, but as a whole, I think they're the best! I love the IMB. but that's not the point. anyways, just a good link to have if/when i mention anything about them. go to their site if you never have, especially if you claim to be a southern baptist. it's so interesting, and you can find out what's going on all over the world.

The next is something new. I have been back in America for over 3 1/2 yrs now, but sometimes it feels like yesterday. I still miss Senegal so bad it hurts. I miss my friends, I miss my work, I miss the food (it's always food with me :-), but I think most often I miss feeling like I'm doing something. I am now quite normal, I occasionally remember to pray for missionaries but rarely know anything specific going on and never actually talk to any. I hear a news story and think oh that's terrible, the things that go on in the world so far away. So I've whined about it, judged other people for being just like me, and been sad about what I feel like I lost in Senegal, a lifetime ago. No more complaining how I can't go or in turn/being overwhelmed with the need. Enter Congo Restoration. This is my new thing :-).

There are so many amazing organizations in the world, how do you choose who to keep up with, support, raise awareness for, even read their newsletter? I would go, in a heartbeat, to work with not only the IMB but Gospel for Asia, Compassion International, Africa Inland Mission, a host of others, even Doctors Without Borders! But I think at some point you have to decide, like a menu at a restaurant or a team in the Super Bowl. Who are you going to really get behind?

Congo Restoration sort of fell in my lap. It's Africa, it's not only missions but also human needs and economic development hopefully, which my dad helped me have an interest in and appreciation for a long time ago. Best of all, they really need help. I feel like my contribution is going to matter. They are small and just getting started. But they have an amazing faith and God-inspired vision for the suffering people of Congo, especially in the extremely traumatized areas along the eastern border. I'm not trying to advertise to make it your thing, just so you'll know what's coming. Thanks for sticking with me!