Wednesday, December 30, 2009

making my heart melt

Yesterday I took Calvin to the grocery store. The closest grocery store is in the basement of a shopping center, there is an escalator, but no place to park a stroller while you shop, and no way to get the stroller back up the escalator with groceries and Calvin. (We learned the hard way when Calvin ran ahead while I was trying to pack up our groceries and the stroller and fell on the escalator going up. It made my heart jump but he was rescued unharmed.)

So this time we decided to walk there and take public transport back home. I was so proud of my little man he walked the whole way there, it's about a 15-20 minute walk when I do it alone. People walk here, it's what they do and so they expect kids to walk too. (I did tuck my Ergo Baby in my bag just in case, but glad I didn't need to use it.)

But I digressed, on the melting part. We got off at our stop and we have to walk between a couple of apartment buildings that look just like ours and once we got around the buildings and saw our building Calvin says, "My House." So sweet, and glad he knows it's home and for a minute I thought I was going to cry.

I snapped this one of him playing in his "house" made out of pillows.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Christmas Collage

Here are a few more shots of our Christmas this year. We had a little gingerbread house making party with some other ex-pats. Calvin did a nice job at eating the candy, then he got bored and ran off to play. Ours is a little local house, we used all local materials to build ours, since I didn't get around to making gingerbread, maybe next year. (our is the "log cabin" with pretzles for logs.)
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An afternoon with Father Freeze

The families in our company were invited to attend a New Years Program at a school that is run by the same man with whom our business is partnered with. I've had the pleasure of touring this school before and yes the scary medical equipment is still there and still used.

They had quite the show arranged for the children. I was a little nervous because it was during Calvin's nap and just didn't know how it would go. I held on to our coats just in case we needed to make a quick exit. I was even more worried when they had seats set out for the kids, far away from my reach. Thankfully some other kids on our team sat by Calvin and helped him the whole time. He did awesome, however he wasn't sure what was going on. The looks on his face were priceless.

It was the first time he got to see Father Freeze, the name they call Santa Clause here. Of course throughout the course of the play the children had to get up and move in a circle or dance. He just followed along. Some day this will be normal to him. Our favorite part was when they did the Marcarena and the Chicken Dance, it was a nice touch. However Calvin's favorite part had to be when they gave all the children candy at the end. It was a fun little outing. Calvin's been very bored lately, which also means he's been very curious and doing everything he's not suppose to do so we were glad to have something for him to do.

Any ideas on children's activities that can be done inside an apartment would be welcomed.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Meat" our Market

The weekend neighborhood market is rocking our world. I love it! The aisles are nice and big, it's busy but you can still walk through it, unlike the central market in our city. Plus none of it is covered which means the smells aren't as potent, if you know what I mean. We're hoping to make this a part of our Saturdays. It's a good 30 minute walk from our apartment and if we bring the stroller we can stop by several other stores on our way home to pick up several things we need for the week. Sweet. There's also a playground on the way home, so it makes everyone happy.

We thought you'd enjoy a few shots of our meat selections at our neighborhood market.
Anyone know of a good recipe for a head of a cow???
How about salty dried fish?

The back of vans also make a great meat locker

They'll cut it right up for you on the standard tree stump.

They also have the live variety if you prefer to butcher your own bird this year.

Isn't it awesome!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Times

We're loving this age. The little things makes Calvin very happy. He could have been easily thrilled with one gift. When he saw there were more presents he was a little confused because he wanted to play with the one he just opened. Sometimes us silly adults get a little carried away with Christmas gifts. This was a good reminder for me this year. I want Calvin to enjoy gifts but I also want him to enjoy giving too. Lots more to think about as he gets older, hoping to find a healthy balance and let Father teach us some more on this topic.

Loving his new blocks. The poor boy was going a little crazy without anything to build with. He certainly loves blocks and has been busy since he opened them. (No more snagging my spices to build something!!)

And after our gift time we were able to enjoy these....
They're pretty amazing and I've been told by others they are and I quote "better than Krispy Kreme". (And I will admit Calvin and I also enjoyed one for lunch too, shhhh.) Oh the beauty of Christmas traditions.

Hope you had a great Christmas too!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Things we’re learning…or relearning

A sleepy boy after a little ride on public transportation.

It’s been a testing couple of weeks at our house. Calvin’s tested all the waters, just to see if they were the same. Obviously his entire world has changed it only makes since that he would have pushed the boundaries a bit, to see where they were at. If we had thought about it more we wouldn’t have been surprised about this and would have been a little bit more understanding from the start.

We’re relearning the value of a plastic bag. I bought some bread with seasame seeds on it the other day and after I unloaded my groceries there were a few on the bottom of the bag, Marvin wanted to just throw it away. But it was a nice one, the kind that cost around .20, they make great trashbags, and there’s no way we’re throwing that baby way, so he dumped the seeds out and it was as good as new. I’m a little funny about my “packets”.

We’re learning how to get around with a toddler on public transportation. It’s gone well but I haven’t ventured off without Marvin. That will be a story for another day. We have a great new grocery store near our house, it’s about a 20 minute walk. It works great to push Calvin there so I can put my bags of groceries on the back of the cart. This is a great grocery store and they have car carts that he fell in love with during our days shopping at Dillons plus they have an escalator which makes his day. But the only problem is the grocery store is in the lower level and I haven’t figured out how I’d get my groceries, a stroller and Calvin up the escalator on my own. So I’m learning how to get around.

I’ve finally learned why people dress small children in tights here. It’s so ingenious, less laundry! Especially when it takes things a day or two to dry in the winter time. I will say I’ve converted. Calvin now wears tights around the house. If we go out we just throw his snow bibs on and he’s a warm kid! I love it. I just need to find him some house shoes so he doesn’t slip so much when he’s not on a rug.

Since we’ve been gone they’ve covered most of the market, so I’m relearning where everything is located. It’s very nice to go shopping and not having plastic tarps dripping water on you. But I’m wondering how nice it will be in the hot summers? I’ll update you then.

There’s plenty more but that’s it’s for now.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Welcome to the Hood

Here’s a few pictures of our apartment building. It’s on the edge of town but we have access to lots of public transportation. We live on the 4th floor of a 10 story building, so stairs aren’t too bad. We do have a lift and thankfully it works, but it smells like urine and it’s missing a number 1 button, so we’d rather take the stairs when possible. I am grateful for it when we take the stroller. I’ve never been a big germ person but that thing grosses me out.

We have a great playground right outside. I can’t wait for spring and summer because it’s pretty dead right now. We hope to meet several new friends through this playground. So far there’s just been a grandfather and his grandson come play at the same time Calvin has been out there.

And here is our door, well our first one. We have two, we share an entrance door with our neighbor and then we each have separate doors to our apartments. But I’ll save that for a later post.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Big Boy Already?!?!

We had planned on transitioning Calvin to a toddler bed shortly after the new year but he did it for himself. Our first night Calvin slept well. He was exhausted and just wanted to be held throughout the night. He ended up in my bed and eventually took over my bed. So I slept in Calvin’s toddler bed.

The next night was a completely different story. He woke up at 1:00 ready to play. Marvin gave him a snack and told him to go to sleep and when he was done he could eat breakfast. It was quiet for a few minutes then we heard. All done, all done, all done…..for the next 5 minutes.

I saw that he wasn’t too sleepy so I did what any good mother desprate for sleep would do, grabbed our portable DVD player and popped in a Veggie Tale. It occupied him until he figured out how to escape the pack-n-play. The next thing we knew we had a little guy at our bed excited about watching his movie. We kept taking him back to his bed, until after the second DVD was finished and I finally gave up. By this time I was also awake. So I folded up his bed because obviously that wasn’t going to work anymore and I unpacked his suitcase while he played for a bit.

He’s done pretty well with the transition. He loves his new bed and he is sleeping through the night. I can’t believe my son is big enough for a big boy bed!

Friday, December 18, 2009

First Friend

Calvin’s a little observer and an introvert. I’ve been very curious to see how he’d adjust to a new culture. So far it’s been a little overwhelming to him. It’s new to hear mommy and daddy speak a new language and for others to speak to him and for him not to understand what they are saying. So far he’s coped by pretending he’s asleep the few times we’ve been in public and people have been making a fuss about him.

I am so proud of him though he has already learned how to say thank you, and he actually says it better than he does in English. Today we were playing and he gave me a toy and I said thank you in this language. Then he went back to coloring and he started jibber jabbering like I have never heard him do before. He came back over to me and said something to me in the same jibber jabber. I finally made the connection he was talking to me in our new language. I know what he feels because I thought this language sounded like jibber jabber when we first got here too.

He certainly does better with children. We had our friends Ute and May over for dinner and he loved their little girl. He wasn’t the least bit phased when they spoke to him in a different language. Today he was even talking about their little girl. I’m so thankful for a first little friend for him. We live very close to them and can’t wait for our future walks together.

Our Trip Over the Pond

We survived our first long flight with a toddler. We certainly were a sight though, picture us dragging a car seat, a stroller, two rolling carry on bags, a backpack, computer bag & Calvin in our Ergo Baby Backpack. (Yes we pushed the airline allowances to the max.) We are very thankful to not have to do that again for a very long time. Even though it was a pain we were glad we brought Calvin’s car seat on the plane and surprisingly it even fit on our last flight to Nineveh.

Our flights were great. Calvin was very excited. Partly because we told him there were cookies on the airplane. He slept most of our long flight which was nice because both Marvin and I were exhausted from packing all night long. We had a little pit stop overnight before we headed to Nineveh. Of course they slammed us with baggage fees again and we were so thankful we eliminated two suitcases.

It was fun to immediately spot our flight check in. It was the one where everyone was wearing black coats and holding plastic bags wrapped in saran wrap. We knew we wanted to go where they were going. Our flight was much better than our first entry to Nineveh. But for some reason after we landed we waited for about 15 minutes for the bus to pull up. In this time there was no air and one lady fainted. Then I’m not sure why but everyone must board the bus to go about 20 meters to the building. So Calvin and I were literally shoved through a sea of people to take our seat for mom’s with small children. A similar event also happened as we waited to go through passport control. We really made it through two lines very quickly thanks to Calvin.

Now customs is where we were delayed considerably. The problem is we had 12 suitcases and no one knew what to do. Did they charge us a custom fee, if so how much? This went on for several hours. Calvin was exhausted and everyone was really nice to us. They even took us to the back where I could sit down. (Can I just tell you how much I have loved having our Ergo baby. It is the only way Calvin would have fallen asleep in that madness.) He finally didn’t have any more steam and crashed while we waited for Marvin and the customs agents figure out the correct paperwork. But that’s life here! It’s so good to be back.

After a restless night of sleep our first night here. Calvin eventually took over my bed, and I slept in his toddler bed. He was so exhausted that next morning it took some major coercing to get him out of bed.

Because I just couldn’t wait till we had internet to blog

Well still no word about our internet, we’re just waiting. There probablly is one guy in our whole city who can set up DSL, but we shall continue waiting for him. Until then I wanted to post a few things while I’m at our office, so you won’t be bombarded with posts whenever we get our internet up and rolling.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

1 WEEK!!!!

I had a slight feeling of panic as I went to my hair appointment this morning and realized we are leaving in 1 WEEK. ONE WEEK PEOPLE we have so much to do. It seems like every day we think of something else we need to get done. Thankfully we were able to check so much off of our to do list yesterday, but also had to add several more things to it. I'm just trying to remain calm, and trying to put myself in bed at a decent hour too. Getting sick is the last thing we need right now.

We decided to eliminate two of our suitcases so this means we're back to square one and square one can't be started until Friday, since all of our bags are at Marvin's folks house. I guess black Friday will have an entirely different meaning for us. We really do want to enjoy our last days with family so let's just hope we can get everything done on Friday when we'll be back at Marvin's parents house. We already have a mental list of what we are taking out of our suitcases, but we'll see if it totals up to 100 lbs. We just don't want to be killed with baggage fees when we get to our flight to Nineveh. We'll be having an overnight pit stop, flights to our city cannot be purchased from the states and this means the airlines cannot route them to our final destination. In short it means we have to check all our bags again and pay for them again, so we're just praying we're not going to be pounded by fees (sometimes they do that). Thankfully there is storage at the airport and we won't have to luggage 12 suitcases to where we are staying for the night.

I hope to conclude my sewing projects this evening. I'll post some pictures tomorrow, I promise. I've finished two aprons, started two more, and am about to finish Calvin's duvet cover here during nap time. I still have a couple more Christmas presents to finish up today and because I'm crazy decided to make some baby legs for Calvin out of long socks. Kids must wear tights there, but I'm going to bend that rule and use baby legs instead.

So I guess I better get to work, rather than waste time blogging.

P.S. Anyone know how to get the music from your ipod to your computer? I've seen lots about how to do it the opposite way but since the little punks stole our computer we can't do it that way. Any thoughts? It would save us hours of loading Cds.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a Rock Star

It's been so amazing to see Father's hand in all the events surrounding our return. Most recently we were granted visas. You have no idea how nervous we were about that step but once again it's all in his timing and we are privileged to be able to return at this time. PTL!

Another huge answer has been our housing. Thankfully he's opened up the door for us to live here! I can't wait. Our timeline is clicking away tomorrow we leave in 2 weeks! Awesome. Our God certainly Rocks.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Love It! (With lots of exclaimations points)

Lots to be thankful for today!!

We offically have VISAS!!! We can be officially ticketed on Monday for our December 1st flight!
We have 8 bags packed, at weight and ready to go!!!

We got our pictures back from our photographer. She did a beautiful job. If you are in the Wichita area I highly recommend her. She was professional but very laid back and with a 2 year old you have to just go with the flow. Thank you so much Pampering Beki! (She also has the sweetest jewlery for sale, she's quite a talented gal.)

For those of you who I haven't contact via facebook and want to be a part of our update team please send me your contact info including your home address. Since our computer was stolen we lost all that info. Our email is our last


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

When life gets stressful....why not take a sewing break

Seriously folks I have about a million projects to finish while I still have my beloved sewing machine. Those of you who sew know how funny we seamstresses are about our sewing machines. I know the speed it will go if I press the peddle a certain way. I know all of it's unique characteristics, she's become a great part of our family. Even though I can get a new one overseas, she'll be missed.

So here are a few projects I whipped up in the moving process. They were for my trade secret swap partner. Since it's not a secret anymore I'll share them.

I experimented with scalloped edges! I love them. I have a few sketches in my mind that I'm dreaming up for the aprons left to complete. It will come as no surprise to a few of you that most of my Christmas gifts will be aprons this year. I'm also working on a few matching pot holders too. I know I'm nuts but apparently I thrive in chaos.
I'm really hoping the packing process will end today and while we're in E-town I can focus on the a few fun projects including a couple quilt tops I'm turning into duvets (I promise they are very simple quilt tops.) Among the Christmas gifts I'm working on.
May the packing end so I can do something fun for a change.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What's it worth to ya?

My my, I forgot how much I dislike packing. I can pull together a weekend bag in a snap, but when it comes to moving half way around the world with only a few suitcases that's where I start to get a little frazzled. I had a little melt down over my sugar, tea and coffee containers. They just didn't make the cut. I know we can get that kind of stuff there, but I really loved them.

We're trying to thin our bags at this point and man is that a tough thing to do. We're making the hard calls right now, today I pulled the Velveeta because what good is Velveeta without any chips. I talked to the airline and we get 6 free bags between the three of us. Every bag after that is $250 each, plus another couple hundred a piece for our second leg of our trip. Thankfully we're graciously given the funds to compensate for that. It's given a better direction to our packing. It makes us evaluate how valuable each item is in our suitcase. So what would you take? I'm curious!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Winner is....

I finally ordered her and am so pumped about having her in my life. I also bought the slicer/shredder attachment, so watch out Central Asia here we come. We'll be whipping up all sorts of homemade goodies.

I went with green because well we move alot and and decided it would be easier to work around a green kitchen aid than a red one. I really love it and am so happy with my decision. Sorry to disappoint those of you who loved the red one. It was a close call. I can't wait for it to arrive! Oh I also ordered a 220 Volt crockpot, seriously so excited, now here comes the hard part, getting it to Central Asia in one piece.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Goodbyes Stink

You'd think we'd be used to saying goodbye. It's something we've done a ton of the past few years. It's a part of the life God has desired for us. Even though we've done it a ton it's never easy.
We were so blessed by so many people at Tyler Road who really opened their hearts to us. They loved our son and watched him grow from a baby into a little boy. They were with us and were patient with us as we adjusted back to fellowship in America (it still is hard). They've become a sweet part of our hearts and I'm thankful for the time he's give us together.

There are also sweet friends we'd love to have more time with. Some of which we hope we can even meet before we leave.
There's the special people we see on a daily basis. (don't laugh but Hobby Lobby has been a big part of our life, and "set" really is special to Calvin.)

Then there's this one goodbye which brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. Our friends, who are closer than anyone we know, they've been our family for the past four years. It's sort of ironic we moved on Halloween because we started this journey together 4 years ago exactly as we headed off to training together.
Over the past four years we've been through so much together. Gotten rolled over by the Djamilla truck our first day of language, laughed until we cried at things we said, did or by deep thoughts. Been broken hearted for friends together. We get each other, been through a ton, even lived together as we both had newborns! And still love each other like crazy.

They've been a huge blessing over the past year and a half. It was such a relief that in the midst of all the craziness surrounding our return to the states that Dan and Jamie would be in Wichita. We could laugh about flannel shirts, reminisce about the good times in Nineveh and be sad together that we weren't there. We've watched our boys grow up together become best buds. I love seeing Calvin's face light up when he sees his best buddy. I love how his loves his Aunt Jamie and Uncle Dan.
It's going to be odd traveling overseas and not having our "teammates" there. So I am thankful for them, what they have meant in our lives, but also thankful that God is one who sees our hearts also comforts us in those tough goodbyes.

We love you guys and are excited to see what God has planned in each of our lives and how he grows our friendships through the years.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Birthday Bash

Calvin had a great party a couple weeks ago. We were blessed to have some many people who have been such a huge part of Calvin's life in our home. Things were a bit tight but we made do.

We went with a Sesame Street Theme because that's Calvin's love right now. The cupcakes turned out really cute and Calvin was so excited when he woke up to find Elmo, Cookie Monster and Grover on the counter.

I didn't do a lick of decorating, just plain ran out of time. For me that was huge, I love to have everything perfect, but lately decided that it's better for me to just concede and go to bed, rather than have a grumpy momma with cute decorations. I'm working on it.

Meet Grover, Elmo & Cookie Monster
They were very simple, cuz I'm not very talented in the area of cake decorating. Although I've always wanted to give it a try. My mom made our cakes growing up and I'd love to do the same for Calvin.

Sesame Street Over took our counter! I made 40 cupcakes and all but 4 were consumed the day of the party. We had a lot of people at our house.
The Play Zone
Calvin had a blast playing with his pals and cousins. The balloons were a big hit. I have been so thankful for this huge play room right off the kitchen. It was nice for the kids to have a place to play.

Present Time

Even though we specifically said no presents. Everyone blessed Calvin by helping to replace all his DVDs that were stolen. It's amazing he had no duplicates!

It's a neat picture to see most of the people who've meant so much to Calvin all in one room. We are blessed.

I still can't believe two years went by so quickly! I'm certainly enjoying all the snuggle time and hugs I can get right now, before we know it we'll be sending him off to college.

Yet Another Reason I Love ETSY!

Calvin's hat came!!! It's too stinkin' cute! I love shopping on Etsy, but trust me once you start you'll be hooked.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Choices, Choices

Well I hope to order my Kitchen Aid this week, thanks to many of you! Now it's time for to choose a color. This is the hard part! Here's what I'm choosing between.

I love this green. It's calming and sweet. It reminds me of a good friend your always glad to see.
Here a nice sleek chrome. It looks ultra modern and would be fun to have around my kitchen. It seems sophisticated and I'd feel blessed to use it every time. (not sure how well it would clean, how to keep it nice and shiny because let's face it I'm a messy cook, anyone have one like this?)
Lastly Empire Red. Need I say more. It's sassy and a pop of color and I LOVE red, but is my kitchen ready for this princess? It would make me happy just looking at it.

I'm so torn I love all of them. They all have a different feel to them. What would you choose?