Saturday, September 26, 2009


We didn't let the rain spoil our fun today. We went to "Ford's buddy Miller's" (as he is always referred to around our house) 2nd birthday party. The rain caused the party's location to be changed from the park to their house at the last minute but we had so much fun we didn't even notice. The incredibly nice firemen at the Vestavia Hills FD actually drove the fire truck to Miller's house and let the kids climb all over it and take pictures. What a fun party idea! We've been to the firehouse before but I had no idea they did house calls!

Claire is in preschool three days a week now and Ford is definitely missing her when she is gone. The other morning I took the boys to Chickfila so Ford could play in spite of all of this rain we have been having here. He was the only one in the playground while Gus and I drank some sweet tea and momma milk (respectively). Perfect, I thought, Ford can burn off some energy and I can relax for minute. He eagerly climbed up all the alternating platforms to the top. Then silence. This is the conversation that ensued.
Are you OK buddy?
Momma! Momma!
What's wrong, Ford?
I tuck.
You're stuck?
Momma! Momma! . . . I tuck.
You're not stuck sweetie just come on down the yellow slide.
Momma! Momma! . . . It geen.
No sweetie it's not green it's yellow. Come on down the yellow slide.
Momma! Momma! . . . It geen.
It's yellow buddy. Come on down.
Momma! Momma! . . . I tuck.
You're not stuck sweetheart. You can make it. Come on down, big boy.
Momma! Momma! . . . I want Claire.
(at this point my heart melts into a puddle on the floor)
Ford you are OK big boy. You are so strong. You can do it.
Momma! Momma! . . . I tuck. . . I want Claire.
(now I'm thinking maybe his clothes are snagged on something and he really is stuck. I'm still nursing the baby so I keep trying to encourage him really hoping that I won't have to climb up that tower).
You can do it, Ford. Come on down that yellow slide.
Momma! Momma! . . . It geen . . . I want Claire.

The store ends with me climbing up to the top and finding my precious little boy sitting at the top greeting me with a huge grin of relief. I proceeded to slide down the very yellow slide after giving him a little nudge to do the same. What sweet sweet boy who really does love his sister.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Well. Here she is. One Kijabe Place. No, I'm just kidding about the street address. I think this is technically 501 Waring Duplex better known as HOME! Our outrageously nice new neighbors sent us these wonderful pictures of our new place! We are so excited to see our house and imagine our new life there that will start in just a few weeks. I showed Claire this first picture of our house I thought she was going to hyperventilate she was laughing so hard at the blue roof. She kept laughing and laughing and I kept asking her what was so funny and she finally squeeked out "It's blue" and started laughing even harder. It was quite a moment. At least she can always find her house!

This is the front porch entrance. There are lots of beautiful flowers in this part of Kenya but they are suffering from a SEVERE drought so things aren't as lush as they could be but it is nice to see some things blooming despite the lack of water.

This is our view. Again - this is our view. Wow. I mean seriously. I get to gaze at this sight every day. That is the Great Rift Valley and Mt. Logonot you see there. Claire was a little concerned when I mentioned that Mt. Logonot was a volcano. Apparently the Wonder Pets have recently been on a mission to rescue a baby crane from a volcano so she was a little scared but I assured her it was an old volcano and nothing to worry about.

This is the living room and our source of heat on what I keep being told are cold Kijabe nights. Since this is "short term" housing it is furnished for us and therefore kind of a hodge podge of funiture. I'm excited about getting in there and making it our own. I keep reminding myself that we are moving to Kenya bring the love and compassion of Christ to others NOT to decorate my house. But the nesting Momma in me at least wants our home to be warm and inviting and a welcoming place of ministry for our family so that is my goal.

This is my dining room. Our neighbor described it as a brick red but on my computer it looks more like a coral pink. I guess we will find out when we get there! I love my red dining room here in Alabama so it would be a nice slice of our old house if it is really red. I love that corner cabinet!

This is our bedroom . . .

This is the Ford and Claire's room upstairs. Claire has already claimed her bed and I am bringing a few things that will make this room really cute.

Apparently there was some left over red paint that they decided to use upstairs too in what will be our nursery and guest room (hint, hint!).

Here is another view of the front entrance.

It is so much fun to have these pictures of our new house! I've been reading lots of fun blogs of people who have just moved to Kijabe so I am learning about a lot of their experiences too. It seems like, overwhelmingly, people really enjoy living here and that it is a pretty special place. We are honored that we get to go and be a part of what God is doing here.

Please continue to pray for us - particularly that our house will sell soon. We have had SO many people coming to look at it. Which is wonderful but it is frankly wearing me out trying to keep everything is "showing condition" all of the time and having to leave the hosue for several hours at a time. I almost have a panic attack every time I think about everything that we are doing between now and Nov. 5th - all of the various doctor's appointments, Gus' Dedication, Ford's Birthday party, our Commissioning ceremony at Brook Hills, several of the kids' friends birthday parties, several consignment sales to get stuff ready for, lots of get togethers with friends to say good-bye, not to mention packing up everything we own in a storage unit and 14 suitcases worth of stuff to take with us on the plane. But somehow it will all get done. It is comforting to know that God is in the details of our life too and knows what we need on every level. He will get us there. He is faithful beyond measure.

Rhett is busy studying for his ID boards that he takes on the 6th of Nov. between moonlighting shifts. We are SO thankful that he will NOT be needed hernia surgery as we thought he would before we leave. God had mercy on us. I could not wrap my mind around doing all the moving and lifting and traveling we are going to be doing and having my husband not be able to lift anything over 20 lbs for 2 months after this surgery.

Claire is back in school and loving it. I'm getting to spend a lot of extra one on one time with Ford which is really, really nice (well, Gus is there but he just kind of hangs around so it still feels like one on one). We have gone to the park or just played in the yard together. He is an absolute riot. He sings and dances all day long. He has a wonderful sense of humor and laughs and jokes around all the time.

I have found myself lately not wanting to buy normal (gargantuan) quantities of things because I want to try to use everything up before we go. It feel strange to see things I buy with an expiration date when we will be in Kenya.

Did I mention here that the airlines had split us up and had Ford, Rhett and Gus on one flight and Claire and me on another one? It was very complicated story that I am sure has many chapters left before it is all said and done. After getting hysterical about the fact that my breastfed baby was expected to fly for 19 hours with his FATHER I was told by the Delta ticketing agent that I was being "aggressive". Ha! That conversation got worse before it got better but as it stands we are supposedly all on the same aircraft. Why does travel have to be so difficult - even when you aren't actually travelling?

I'm rambling but enjoying all of these random thoughts. More soon.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Just to pretend . . .

Ford's first day of MDO at First Baptist 2008
Ford's first day of Mother's Day In at Shirley Day School. (I decided not to start him in a program since we are leaving in several weeks). I can't believe how much he has changed in a year!!
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First Days of School

1st Day of Mother's Day Out 2007 (Trinity UMC)

1st Day of 2 year old Preschool 2008 (Covenant Day School)

1st Day of 3 year old Preschool 2009 (Covenant Day School)
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Thursday, September 10, 2009


Sometime last spring we planned a long beach weekend with Rhett's brother and his family. We have been looking forward to it for so long and finally this past weekend it was time! We headed down to the beautiful gulf beaches for a fun filled weekend and made some great memories. Thankfully they are in the same stage of life as we are with small children so we just take things as they come (illnesses, tantrums, boo boos, naps, throw ups, 4 hour car rides that turn into 7 - you know typical things that you experience as parents of young children).

It was also a special occasion since this was Gus' first time to see the ocean! Actually he seemed quite unimpressed but we have the photos to document this "first". After settling in we hit the beach the next day . . .

Claire was dressed for anything that might come her way! There was a great lake area that was perfect for the big two to go swimming in and play with out getting nailed by a wave so they spent most of the morning there.

Meanwhile, Ford commanded the baby pool on the beach and managed to fill it almost all the way full with sand before the end of the day. Gus napped in his bouncy seat under our tent while Graham napped in the house and we listened in for him via monitor (couldn't ask for a nicer beach set up than we had). Daddy came back and took Ford for a dip in the ocean too!

After everyone had a rest time the UGA game was coming on TV so Tish and I loaded up the kids and took them up the street to Seaside for a chance to run around and play before dinner. Have you met my precious nephews yet?

This is Mac. Officially he is 3 but he has the vocabulary of an 8 year old and the energy of a puppy. He loves bugs and lizards and all sorts of little creatures. He's not scared of them one bit. Just picks 'em up. This is one sweet boy.

Brother Graham was the baby in the family until Gus came along. He just turned one and is as sweet and cuddly as he looks. We were hoping he would take off on two feet while we were at the beach but he is going to make us wait a little longer. He climbs on anything and everything and I'm afraid my s-i-l is going to have to keep her eyes peeled for this little guy or else she is going to find him on top of her refrigerator one day. Graham and Ford are kindred spirits. They just sort of have this affinity for each other. Everytime I turned around Ford was loving on him (except when he pulled his hair :)

So we let the big kids run around and burn some energy . . .

Ford tried to keep up for a while then he decided to do what he like to do best: dance. They were setting up a band at the amphitheater and Ford just danced and sang and clapped his hands and loved it. Oh, yeah, the shoes . . . well, what can I say? He is comfortable enough in his manhood that he can kick off his blue Crocs and borrow his sister's pink ones!

We treated the kids to dinner and couldn't pass up this photo . . .

Then we stopped for ice cream. As we sat and ate our ice cream we saw an amazing rainbow in the sky!

The next day . . . back to the beach! Here are my little beach bums . . .

On our last night there we set out for the beach once again to do a quick photo shoot. 5 kids 3 and under makes most things a challenge but it makes taking pictures almost impossible. We did the best we could . . .

I love these sandy toes . . .

Probably the best part of the trip was when we handed over the kids to the Daddys and went to pick up take out from the Red Bar. By the time we got home the kids were all in bed and we had a wonderfully relaxing adult-only dinner followed by a game of scrabble while we watched comedian Brian Regan on You Tube. I laughed until I thought I was going to hurt myself. It was good for the soul.

We had such a great time with our wonderful family and made some great memories. It hurts my heart to think about being away from my nephews while we are in Africa. I pray that God will bless our relationship with them and keep us close in their hearts.

Thanks Bobby and Tish for a wonderful time. We love you and will miss you so much. I will work on my scrabble skills and be a force to be reckoned with one day!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family

A friend recently mentioned a book she had read called A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family. I thought I could probably stand to get some wisdom from a book with that title (although our family isn't very large by Duggar standards it is moving beyond the somewhat 2 kid norm in our country). I'm not done with the book yet but I've liked it so far. The author is a mom to 10 kids (4 bio and 6 adopted) whom she homeschools. It basically reads like a long chat over coffee where some one is just telling you the story of their family and how she makes it work. I've enjoyed reading about her family and getting some pearls of wisdom here and there.

She spends a lot of time discussing large families and in a way defending them (or maybe explaining is a better word to describe it). Either way she makes a case for large families in a culture where more than two kids is considered unusual. I will say that I experienced this a little when we had a our girl and boy and decided we'd like to have another child. People just assumed we were "done" since we had one of each. I was, frankly, a little surprised by this attitude but it seemed to come from the generation before us and not people our age. As I heard recently "3 is the new 2" and most of my friends' families reflect this. We know tons of people with 3 kids, several with 4 and even one with 8! All that to say I don't think that having 3 kids is really that large of a family but we hope to expand our brood eventually so maybe I'll qualify as big one day.

In one section of the book she talks about toys. She makes a huge case against stuffed animals which made me laugh because it takes about 15 minutes to drown in stuffed animals after you have a child. Sure they are cute and cuddly but really quite boring and end up collecting dust somewhere. They are tough to get rid of too. I mean who can throw away that cute little brown puppy (that no one has ever played with except for the 45 seconds after it was received as a gift)? Some charities won't take them, consignment sales say no and no one will buy them in yard sales. Stuffed animals are forever. Maybe an animal shelter would appreicate them - hmmm. Anyway, she says she has realized that there are only a few good toys and I like her list:

Play dishes and food
dress up clothes
"outdoor toys"
books,books, books
art supplies

I think I would only add toy cars/trucks, dolls and assume that Little People were included in the dollhouse heading (they are my kids' favorite toys - hands down). We don't have any legos and Claire is just getting to the age where independent dress up is an option but other than those things I think she is on to something. Anyone else have a bunch of loud plastic junk laying around your house?

We are still in the infant toy mode too but especially in that genre there are a few clear choices: a good shape sorter or two, a few wooden puzzles (although the pieces are high maintenance as far as clean up and keeping track of them) and a few (like 3) sensory toys to chew on and explore. I really like the fridge letters too (I would say skip the animal noise ones) although I had to put them on hiatus when Ford discovered that they were a lot more fun to just throw down the length of our kitchen.

The good news for me is that most of these essential toys will fit in our suitcases and therefore make the trip to Kenya with us! I think I have about 100 lbs of books already packed (not exaggerating). I love my kids' books. It is amazing how you can not have a single toy in your house and before you know it you are BURIED in toys. I remember looking around and thinking where did all this stuff come from?? It is smothering and it takes a lot of time to keep up with lots of toys and even more time to clean them all up. I think good toys are ones that grow with your kids that multiage kids and play with and ones that kids will just play differently with as they grow.

All in all I've enjoyed this quick read. I lean more toward her views of attachment parenting and I am more accepting of the whole idea of homeschooling which some people aren't so that may detract some people. Some things didn't go over for me either - she seems WAY laid back about housekeeping (aside from laundry) only telling her kids make their beds or clean their rooms when they have company and seems more able to tolerate a messy house than me. It also seems like with 10 kids (several teenagers) who are able to help out around the house there is no reason it shouldn't be really clean and tidy. She talks about their yearly trip to the beach as though it were the end all be all vacation. I personally would rather do family vacations that were a little more interesting than a trip to the same beach year after year. But then again I don't have ten kids and most likely won't! But like I said, if I was listening to a friend tell me about her family and the philosophy and choices they had made for raising their children I wouldn't agree with everything either. But the toy advice I will take!