Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Curly Qs

Just had to share our newest glamor poses. Little girl Addison has stick straight hair. About a year ago, a friend (whose little girl had a head full of curls) told me she used little boy's socks to roll up her wet hair and then tie the ends of the socks together for her to sleep in. I instead found little pillows at the store that had metal ends you could then fold over to keep them wound up.

A year ago we tried it.

She woke up to mediocre curls....for about 2 seconds.... before they all fell out.

So I gave it a try again Saturday morning and here was the end result.

They actually stayed in all day and she spent most of that day using her little hand to "fluff" them up. It was soooo Darla ala Little Rascals. Speaking of - the pictures with her 'boys' was because the model demanded them, of course. High maintenance tween years, here we come.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Date at the Nile

So the past week, on my blogging hiatus - I spent my days basking in the beautiful sunshine that is Florida. Soaking in the waves and the rays. And since we were vacationing with my parents, our first thought was DATE NIGHT - For FREEEEEEEE!!!!! And since I have been trying to persuade somebody, anybody, to go with me to an Ethiopian restaurant with me, since, oh, February - I thought this would be a good opportunity to guilt my husband into driving me the 1 hour distance to find a restaurant in Orlando.

Before we even left for the trip, I had researched restaurants on the web, looked at menus, looked at reviews. Cause this was a once in a lifetime deal. He hates it - I'm not getting an easy re-do.

I settled on The Nile in Orlando as it looked cozy and was run by an Ethiopian couple who were noted for their good service and hospitality. So we start out around 6:15, head in the wrong direction, then run into the longest and most torrential rain shower EVER, and finally arrive close to 8. Good thing this place is open until 10 as I was getting worried.

Now kicking myself for not taking photos - but The Nile was situated in a little strip mall and really was a cute little place. The hostess led us to a table/chairs but when Tony asked what the floor seating was for, he said that we might as well experience the whole experience and we moved to the little stools around the woven table. (The following photos are from my trip as I was photographically challenged that night, but the food looked and tasted just the same)

So I decide to order us a beef combination platter for two for $29.95 which came with 3 beef dishes (beef key wat, alicha, cubed beef tibs), and 3 vegetables (green collards gomen, split peas kik, and salad). Now I really wanted Tony to try the shiro, as that is what we were offered most in the home visits in Ethiopia. But the shiro dish was an extra $10.95. I tried negotiating a vegetable substitution. But "no shiro". The friendly waitress then went, unasked, and talked to the manager about letting me have my shiro. Yeah!! (shiro with injera)

So with little flasks of the included home-made honey wine, we were quickly served our food on the oversized plate covered in the spongey bread (and eating utensil) called injera. So the wine we really didn't care for. BUT the food was fantastic and Tony really liked it. We picked that big plate clean! And no, he didn't like the shiro as much as I did. But I would say that for a beef and potatoes kind of guy, just getting him in the door was a huge success. (we didn't have the eggs as that is served with the chicken dish, of course...)

The really fun thing is a tradition that my friend Jerry taught us in which you use the injera to pick up some food and then feed it to your friend or family member. The tradition is called gusha and is meant to demonstrate love. So like dating teenagers, we even gave each other gusha at the dinner table. (Go ahead, cue the "awwwwws")

We then asked for coffee and the sweet waitress said she would go ahead and do her nightly coffee ceremony for us. She roasted the green coffee beans, brought the black ones around for us to see and inhale (yum), and then served us the coffee in the little teacups. After about 3 tablespoons of sugar to the 1 oz. of black coffee (table sugar is just NOT as good as the raw we had in country) - I was back to my original cup some 4 months ago. And loving it.

And note: if you should happen to ever try The Nile, ask for the bottled honey wine tej. Even the owner (who WAS very friendly) said she didn't like the home-made wine but many customers still request it. The bottled variety was very good. (the owner and a youtube video about The Nile. For those of you who are still interested after this completely self-serving post...)

Friday, June 12, 2009

A storm a-brewin

Yesterday Seth calls me outside to see something 'awesome!' I walk out to find all the men of the cul-de-sac with their heads thrown back looking up to this sight..

The wind was blowing and the clouds were coming in like waves. The whites, grays, and blacks were tumbling in at about the same speed of the ocean...
T turns to one of our neighbors and says, "now if you look around in 2 minutes and you are all alone - I would highly suggest you have a quick discussion with God." Now it was just a joke, and we all laughed. And the guy defensively says, "Oh, I'm saved!"

But what if... what if that would have been the event, the time, and the moment that God chose to take his bride home? What if others were looking up to the swirling, beautiful sky and were instantly standing by themselves? And what if that were you and not my neighbor - do your neighbors know you are saved or do you hide it very well? Are you being nice, doing good deeds, and 'hoping' others find out you are a Christian? Just so they can 'hopefully' put two and two together to figure out and somehow want what you have?

Just saying, just thinking. Cause who knows when that moment may be. And do you want to know that your neighbor may be standing there looking up.... alone? Or worse yet, what if you were left here.... alone. Cause once that day comes, and it WILL come, there will be no second chance at an easy out and I for one, am so glad I will not be looking up to the Heavens in wonder.

Matthew 24: 36- 42: No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come."

Romans 10:9 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Edventure adventure

Family night at the local children's museum Edventure. SOUNDS like a fun idea. T had a meeting this evening so, being the brave mom that I am - "Oh, I can handle this." Not realizing that 3/4 of the city also thinks going to the museum on $1 night is a good idea too. I was hoping I made it out of there alive with 3 kids. Maybe not my 3 kids, but any 3 would seem a success.

So my $4 fun night quickly turned into $16 when you have to pay extra for the 'butterfly pavilion'. However, well worth the extra cash as we spent 30 min. of our 2 hours there amidst over 100 little bursts of color.

The progression of a friendship:
Ooooooo - a butterfly!!!

Hi Mr. Butterfly!!

Blow Mr. Butterfly off and spend the next 29 min. trying to get a butterfly to land on you. Makes perfect sense!

After crawling through the bowels of a 3 story kid, we were off to the grocery. This is probably my favorite exhibit of all as I love seeing what 5 items the kids buy as it is so indicative of their personalities. For example, on Braeden's first trip to the Piggly Wiggly - he bought 3 cakes and 2 doughnuts. Just once more, proving that he IS his mother's son.

The boys skipped off to milk a fake cow while Addison went shopping:

These are her 5 items and her explanations:
* The cake is for "me and Calista's burfday potty"
* The hot dog is for Braeden.
* The cereal is for "me and Sef"
* The raisins are for daddy.
* The pink doughnut is for "me" And.......
* The chicken broth is for "you, Mommy". Whoopee. Nothing I like better than a big can of chicken broth when PMS cravings hit.

Next we moved on to West Africa while the boys again, went next door to be weathermen. (Are we already at the stage of not wanting to be seen by anyone with their mom???) Addison shopped at the market (or more accurately, stocked the market with all the play food hanging out in the fishing boat.)

She then decided to do some hair on the huge and unhappy African Barbie head. I would be unhappy too if my hair was coming out in clumps and three year olds were twisting it into a rat's nest everyday..(So funny how intent she was.)

So then we leave to hunt for a doughnut shop in downtown Columbia. Mainly because the kids asked for them, but partially because I was still a little miffed at loosing out on the pink doughnut to the can of chicken broth. The only one I found was boarded up with a "Do Not Enter" sign. Man, those trans fat critics sure are getting serious. Finally found another store a few exits away and come home to gorge on sugar before spending 30 minutes telling them to calm down and go to sleep. Sugar = kiddie crack. Remember that moms of little ones. It's not just something we say to avoid buying sweets. So to sum it up - good pics, good family fun, and a good doughnut. Doesn't get much better than that.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The power of a smell

So yesterday, I had to go for my 6 month check-up to make sure that the waterboarding / eye scraping torture I endured (otherwise known as PRK) actually worked. ***I highly recommend reading my surgery post if you or anyone you know is referred for PRK. Just trust me on this one.

So - I am officially now 20/20 and am free to go and rejoice in my perfect vision (until I turn 40 and need reading glasses anyway..) So to the subject of this post - my eye dr. has an office in the medical park, as part of the major hospital. So after I used the restroom in preparation for my 45 min. drive home, I washed my hands like a good little girl. Wouldn't want to catch swine flu or anything from a dr.'s office. Who knows what kind of people go there to get their eyes scraped??

On the way to the car, the wind blows, I scratch my nose, and I get a whiff of my hands. Or more precisely, the hospital soap I used on my hands. Freaky, I know. But with that one smell, I was immediately transported back almost 9 years to my first hospital visit, to have my eldest son Seth. 29 hours in labor and a precious little angel with a cone head.

Then on to 3 years ago, (I'm coming back to #2 kid) - my third hospitalization to have my baby girl. So excited to have my girl. Then the pain hits, the epidural makes my blood pressure freaky, and I'm throwing up before and after the biggest baby I have ever delivered is born. She was big and she was mad. The nurses told me she was "spunky". Somehow, I don't think that was a good thing.

So while sniffing my fingers, I also started reliving hospitalization #2. I was induced early. Had meds early. Had the easiest labor possible and delivered with my friend and my mom in the room. My lactation nurse even popped in just to say hi and ended up staying to videotape. My wonderful Dr. even let T deliver Braeden. It was fun and perfect. I didn't even mess my make-up up. That's a good day. Braeden was born to his family laughing about how I had just delivered the same baby again. He was at birth, a Seth clone. Who just happens to be a T clone. I tell people, God just had one mold that he happen to use 3 times for my men.

Fast-forwarding back to today, when I got home, I see my little middle kiddo. He had just lost his first teeth and proudly showed me his freakishly long tokens with roots still attached. I really don't do teeth. Thank goodness a dentist can pull them because it just gives me the chills thinking about them. Both boys have taken after their mommy with permanent teeth that come in behind the baby teeth. Really? is it necessary to have stadium seating in a mouth?? So here is my proud man minus bottom teeth:

So now he has graduated Kindergarten (as 'Most Improved in Math' no less. Couldn't have been 'best smile', 'great helper', 'best jokes'?? But that's another story...) AND he has lost his first teeth. All in the span of one week. I'm not a crying mommy but one can only handle so much change. And with being transported back to hospitals via sanitary soap and all, I may be in need of a Kleenex.

It just seems so fitting that my little, wonderful middle son would have such a happy and FUN arrival. To hear laughing and joy as you come into the world must affect you somehow. And I truly think Braeden's entrance befits his personality:

- he is the first child I have received a teacher call about when he pulled another boy's pants down - because someone told him it would be funny....
- he is the first child to figure out how to make the wonderful armpit noise that we all love and admire.
- he is my little one that has taken to answering my requests with a stellar version of Buckwheat's wave and "Ooooo-taaaaay" (he loves Little Raschals). Somehow I can't get upset about the lack of a good "Yes Ma'am"
- he has perfected the imitation of the shampoo commercial girl, flipping his 'hair' back and giving us a breathy "Soooo creamy". (what a weird commercial)
- he loves to break it down and attempt to dance Michael Jackson style in our living room.
- he was born with, and still owns rights to, a specific giggle known as the "Braeden giggle". It has amused strangers in elevators, restaurants, and public parks for a good 5 years now. I'm thinking of getting a copy write as it is just so darn cute.
- he was called back inside last week after being caught outside with his 30 lbs (dripping wet) self, running around in a wrestling singlet, complete with wrestling shoes and football arm pads. I'm still beating myself up for my lack of catching him with the camera.

So that's it, the nostalgic mother with her fingers up her nose, amused at the child who will most likely have some sort of foreign object up his own nose within the next 3 years. How sweet would that be of him to let his mom have one more nostalgic trip to the hospital to smell their special brand of hand soap.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My little blessings

There are days as a mother where I feel I don't have it all together. Days when I feel ragged and worn. Days when I know that it is not by my own strength that I hold my household together.

And then there are the days when all I can do is smile. To admire a bit of God's creation - the little ones that He is allowing me to care for. To see their beauty and to see their innocence and to know that they are not mine but His.

To know that they are in His arms, sheltered and loved. To know that His angels are watching over them.

How humbling to remember that it is not my job to shield them from all harm and all hurt, but to guide them and lead them in the best way I can. Knowing that my purpose is to serve as an image of His love and of His strength - and that a greater love is their destiny.

So as I rest in my Heavenly Father's arms, embracing these precious little ones, I feel the freedom to enjoy their smiles, their giggles, and their kisses. How priceless a gift to be given, to be a Mother in the family that He has given me. I do not have to be perfect, I just have to know which path to follow.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)"

"From everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children. (Psalm 103:17)"