More bacon!!

February 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

In spite of my growing up years of only eating clean food (versus the Biblical unclean foods of shellfish, bacon, etc.), we have come to have an affinity for bacon with our Saturday morning pancakes. Apparently, Nathaniel is a fan as well. His Uncle David Menenberg (who named his dog “Bacon”) and his wife Sarah are very proud.

In addition, this lovely Pinterest find:

Source: via Melissa on Pinterest


Happy weekending!


Silly Hat Thursday!

February 21, 2013 § 2 Comments

At the beginning of this year, Ben and I were evaluating our goals for 2013 and we realized that we often take ourselves too seriously. We needed to find a way to integrate some silliness into our life.

We then created…SILLY HAT THURSDAY!


Every Thursday night, when we come home from school and work, each family member or guest is required to don a silly hat of their choice. We are currently growing our collection, with the newest additions being a construction worker hat and fedora.

By the way, if you see an admiral hat, it’s on Ben’s must-have silly hat list! My goal is to find my old prairie girl hat at my parents’ house. Mom???

We also try to play some sort of game together after supper, usually a type of charades or silly song time with Daddy. Although Thursday nights are usually one of the nights we are most fatigued from the week, it’s been a wonderful time to connect together as a family. It is also therapeutic to lay down some of the seriousness of what we see daily in our life in Zambia (poverty, hunger, endless need, domestic violence, program funding issues, conflict at work, sickness, etc.).

This morning, Nathaniel was getting dressed for school and put his, ahem, undergarments on his head declaring it to be, “Siwee Hat T’ursday!”

Yes, my boy, it is indeed Silly Hat Thursday.

What’s on my RSS (blog) feed reader?

February 18, 2013 § 5 Comments

In my spare time (which is sparser these days with a child in the house), I enjoy looking at other people’s blogs. They are all women authors and I love the ideas, creativity, and the reality of life that people are willing to share. I also appreciate the variety of philosophies and points of view. Some of the blogs are funny, some are serious, some are pretty, some are raw but all are inspiring. Some of the authors I have become friends with in real life and others feel like friends when I sit down to read what they have written.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Bakers Dozen and Apollo XIV – Renee blogs about her “big family” life in the Bellingham, Washington area with fourteen children. Her and her husband have adopted both domestically and internationally and also have biological children. Her last child, Apollo, has had enormous medical complications resulting from his now-repaired double aortic arch. Renee is also a great birth, family, and newborn photographer and her photos make the blog very pretty to look at.
  • Enjoying the Small Things – Kelle Hampton (author of Bloom and Florida photographer) writes about her life with her children and stopping to enjoy the small things. Nella, her second child, was unexpectedly born with Down Syndrome. Kelle is an excellent writer and is very inspiring to read about her journey in special needs parenting.
  • Jones Design Company – Emily blogs about crafts, designs, and making things pretty. She also shares about her children and family life in rural Washington. Great tutorials and many free downloads.
  • Livesay [Haiti] Weblog – The Livesay family writes about their family and experiences living as missionaries in Haiti. They run a maternal health home for poor women in order to prevent an orphan crisis. Well written posts and very thought-provoking.
  • Rage Against the Minivan – Kristen blogs about a variety of topics, including politics, adoption (2 of her children are adopted), racial issues, family issues, entertainment, and multiple types of charity work. Her writing is raw and sarcastic at times. Great links to other blogs and articles on the web as well through her “That’s what she said” series.
  • Sister Haiti {Mama Uganda} – Salem writes about her adopted special needs children. She is a great advocate for more people to adopt children with special needs and is very articulate with the way she writes. Seeing videos of her kids and reading her blog series, “The New Faces of International Adoption” was one of the deciding factors for us in adopting Nathaniel.
  • So That He Might Increase – my friend Beth blogs about her life as a missionary in Lusaka, Zambia with her son Joab who has an undiagnosed sensory disorder resembling autism. She is witty, thoughtful, and fun. I love that she shares about the other parts of her life, not just her ministry.
  • Soule Mama – Amanda blogs about their dreamy little farm and country life in rural Maine. She is a beautiful photographer and can make anything look pretty and artistic. She is an avid knitter and is learning to spin wool from her own sheep. She lives close to the earth and is a Mama and teacher to her 5 children living side by side in a “unschooling” environment.

Do you have any favorites? Please share!


Favorite moments with our boy

August 17, 2012 § 6 Comments

Today we passed the  7 week mark of being together as a family of 3! It is amazing to look back and see the many changes in him already.  Ben and I wrote these together so that we can treasure these fleeting moments:

  • Bedtime is now an enjoyable experience (he screamed every night when he first came home). Usually, Daddy will brush teeth with A, and then they will read a story from the Jesus Storybook Bible.  Then, A turns on the fan, turns off the light, and tucks in Mr Bear.  A now gets into bed himself and asks to be tucked in, and there is almost no whining.  Praise the LORD! 🙂   Daddy’s favorite time with A is baffa time and putting him to bed.  This is a consistent bonding time which is wonderful to enjoy.
  • First “inibus” ride – Mama and A met Daddy in town to run an errand, so Mama and A rode the “inibus” to town.  A had a great time sitting on Mama’s lap, and made sure to point out every truck or minibus that they passed on the way.  An hour after the ride, he was still telling me, “Daddy, Mama and A tienda inibus!” (Mama and A went on the minibus)
  • Last week, A said to Mama, “Mama, ufuna kissie!” (Mama you need a kiss!”)
  • A will say “siwee” because he cannot pronounce silly
  • A is very stubborn when he doesn’t want to eat something.  But once he makes the decision and after finding the proper motivation (i.e. bath or sweetie), he will eat the necessary number of bites, usually 5-10.  In fact, he always eats the amount we ask him to. And wants praise when he finishes! “Go, A! Go, A!”
  • Mama was sitting with A in the bathroom and Daddy snuck in and, well, had some gas.  Daddy thought that A would think it was Mama because Daddy was not spotted when he came in, however A said, “Daddy anuka!” (Daddy made a stinky).  Ben said it was nice to know that his boy understands him. Oh boys. 🙂
  • Mama loves when A wakes up early and asks to crawl into bed with her. He comes to my side of the bed and gives me a gentle tap to let me know he wants into bed. I pull him up and he snuggles right in. The sweetest thing. Ever.
  • A is still learning to use words to ask for things (Ukamba! Umvela? – You speak – you hear me?).  One thing he sometimes does is lightly brush us on the shoulder and point to what he wants.  So now, we will brush him back on the shoulder and point to something else.  This often develops into a five-minute game of brushing and pointing.
  • When A is grumpy, sometimes we will flip him upside down and “talk to his buns”, the less stinky end.  He thinks this is funny and it is usually effective for curing his bad mood.  We tell A that he doesn’t need to be happy, but he does need to be nice.
  • Every day, Mama and Daddy tell A, “Out of all the boys in the whole world, Mama and Daddy said, I want A!”  He is now learning to repeat it and usually ends up finishing the sentence by saying “I want A!”.  We also say this in Nyanja, (nifuna A).  Further, we tell him that we love him “so much” – A usually ends up finishing the so much part of the sentence too.

Only in Africa…

December 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Fountain Swimming

Only in Africa…

…is the city fountain the community swimming pool
…is there a fly swatter in the operating theater (OR)
…is 9pm “late at night”
…are cockroaches in the dining area “normal”
…is a man with muscles and a machete the lawn mower
…are three people on a bike a car pool
…is an unfinished house a savings account

{Post by the Husband} This is Zambia(n) Time

December 15, 2011 § 3 Comments

Tea for two

This morning I finished presenting at World Vision’s Gateway to Grants workshop in Chisamba (about an hour north of Lusaka) a few minutes after 10am.  After the session, I went outside to meet my ride, whom I had spoken to the previous afternoon and confirmed the time and place of my pick up.  However, my ride was not there.  One of my colleagues quickly got on the phone with the driver, and they proceeded to have a 5 minute conversation in Bemba (I think).  After the conversation, my colleague assured me that the driver was on his way.  I then said to him that I have lived in Zambia long enough to know that “he is on his way” can mean one of several things: 1) he is 5 minutes away; 2) he is 30 minutes away; 3) he is running another errand and will come after he finishes that errand; 4) he has not left yet but intends to leave soon.

My colleague smiled and then called back the driver to get more information.  Another 3 minute conversation ensued.  He then informed me that the driver had picked up one of our finance staff and truly was on his way.  I asked how long it would take them.  He said not more than an hour.  He then said to me in a soft spoken Zambian accent: “Ben, let’s have some tea.”

This simple contains many profound inferences.  It says, “Ben, you are too stressed about something unimportant, just relax”.  It says, “Ben, you are a busy mzungu who has many ‘important’ things to do, but the driver will get here when he gets here”.  It says, “Ben, you are in Zambia.  It’s time to do things the way Zambians do.  Your ride will come, let’s enjoy some tea while we wait”.  His advice was frustrating, humorous, and wise.

Let’s have some tea.

Presidential Quilts

December 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

Our internet is back up and running and our dear friends Kelly and Elizabeth have arrived in Zambia. More on their visit tomorrow but in preparation for our visitors, we had quilts made by a local community project called Chikumbuso. We were delayed in receiving the quilts and found out that the project wanted to use our quilts (as well as other projects) as examples for the former President Bush and his entire family to view at the community project site. We asked if they needed models for the quilts too but they refused our generous offer. Darn.

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