Month: September 2013



I’ve gotta be honest, Fall is one of the hardest times for me to live here. There are no such things as pumpkin patches and apple orchards. There is no “Fall feeling in the Air”, crisp cool days and trees turning colors. I have often thought about asking my fruit guy if I could go to his families’ village and pay them to pick apples off of their tree. But that just seems a little silly. So we do what we can with making pumpkin things from scratch and making sure to bring “fally” candles from America. My friends here think we are absolutely crazy to make sweet, cake type things out of pumpkin, as they use it exclusively for savory dishes. And sometimes I think we ARE crazy with the amount of time we spend to make pumpkin puree (but do it! It’s worth it!).

Anyway, we headed up to the mountains this past saturday to visit friends and I declared this our Fall Fun Day! We brought sweatshirts and I wore a brown cardigan and we were going to celebrate Fall by climbing in the mountains.IMG_0031 IMG_0028 IMG_0027 IMG_0025 IMG_0024 IMG_0023 IMG_0021And by the end of the day, it felt like Fall. There were boxes and boxes of apples along the road waiting to be sold and in the air was the sweet smell of just picked apples. Walnuts were laid out on roofs drying out in the sun. And when we left a man handed us a bag FULL of apples and walnuts.

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So, yeah, it wasn’t a pumpkin patch fall day. But it was Beautiful and Full and Life-Giving and for Those things, I am continually Thankful.



Fabric Shopping

Jay and I swap stories all the time about how, when we were growing up, our moms would drag us (kicking and screaming) to the fabric store after school. Ok, maybe we weren’t really kicking and screaming, but I KNOW there was a lot of whining and “please please please don’t make us go to JoAnn fabrics again!!!” She probably was only in there for 5 minutes, but I promise it felt like an eternity.

Cue my life now. I have been on a constant hunt for curtains for 2 years. These are the curtains that are currently in our bedroom.

Space curtains…AND they glow in the dark. Can’t get much more romantic. They were left here by the people before who had them in their son’s bedroom. As a non-decorator, curtains stress me out. When I turned 30 I resigned my self and made peace with the fact that decorating and scrap booking stress me out and I don’t need to feel guilty about that. (But, Give me a dinner party for 40 and I will happily cook for days. Man am I thankful we are all built differently.) So that is why it has been a 2 year hunt. And while I am thankful for the 6 ft high tile on every wall in my house ( so that I don’t have to decorate) it makes looking for curtains to “match” kind of a disaster.
So anyway, yesterday afternoon, when the kids got home from school, we (meaning the 3 kids and I) headed out on a fabric shopping adventure. The walk to the fabric store is a good 10-15 minutes from our house, so I bribed them with donuts after the store if they didn’t complain (yep, mother of the year right here). And you would think that if they kids were anything like I was, they would dread going to the fabric store, but not here. Here, the fabric store is a place where my kids are given food and tea and basically babysat for me while I shop. As soon as the 6 men who work at the fabric shop saw us coming, they started saying, “my friend, my friend!”and handed each of my kids a pomegranate to eat. And while I shopped, the kids sat with them, drank tea, ate pomegranates, and then proceeded to climb all over the rolls of fabric ( because we can only really be a civilized family for .3 seconds).
And I sat there watching my kids engage life, I was beyond thankful. Not only that I could shop by myself for a second (which was nice) but that the people here love them and care for them. And while my kids are probably only aware of 30% of language spoken or cultural cues, they are learning to love people and life here in return.

P.S. I did find 2 different fabrics that might work for curtains. Can any of my seriously crafty/decoraty friends weigh in please. (I’m looking at you: Nat, Kelly, Anne) I will not be offended if you say they are all ugly please don’t do it! Remember, I NEED you people to fill in the places I am lacking!

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Lydia’s favorite things

There were 2 things that Lydia could not wait to eat when we got back:


As she has named them “cream cheese splits”. Think cream cheese in little squares. (Before I found bigger packages of cream cheese, if I ever wanted to make cheesecake, I used to individually unwrap about 30 packets in order to have enough! Thank goodness for living closer to a grocery store!)



Maloui (or Msemen). This stuff is so good. A dough made with lots of oil and then folded with butter and put on a griddle with more oil. How could it not be amazing? Sometimes they make it small and other times you can buy it by the kilo. Yum!!

How We Roll

People often ask us, “what is it like to travel with three little kids?” Or when we are at the airport, we get MANY looks…some sweet smiles, and some whattheheckareyouthinkingandihopeiamnotonyourplane looks. But to be completely honest, I don’t even really think about it anymore. Since having kids I think we have traveled significantly almost every three months, and so a flight over the ocean feels almost the same as a 2 hr drive to the beach (well, maybe not completely, but I pack the same amount of activities). Jay and I have often gotten on a plane and said to each other, “oh, we really should have packed something for the kids to do.” So when people ask me how we travel with them, my answer is honest, but not always helpful, ” well, if you start out not entertaining them a lot, they won’t expect it and will learn to entertain themselves.” Kinda harsh, huh?!?! But, for us, it has worked. Yes, part of it was just out of necessity ( we don’t have a DVD player in the car and we didn’t have an iPad for them to watch things on) and don’t get me wrong, when those things are available I love the quiet that happens when they are entertained, but I’m thankful that they have had to learn to do nothing well because it makes traveling all the more easy.
I think we have also learned to have tough skin, so when our kids are running around the airport and we look like we have lost control, we can smile at the person staring at us and not worry if they think we are crazy lunatics.
Exhibit A:

Yes, I started a game of asking them to run to the sign and back. It kept them occupied while I was trying to keep one eye on them and one eye on our massive pile of bags by myself.

The absolute worst part of traveling for me is going through security. We are always standing in a massive line and then trying to corral everyone to take their shoes off and sometimes pulling their blanket out of their hands, and breaking down the stroller, but once that 20 minutes is over, I breathe a sigh of relief knowing the worst is usually behind us.

This flight we just took was particularly creepy and awesome. Let me explain. I’ll do creepy first.
Creepy. So as we were getting on the plane 4 Air Marshalls were getting off of our plane carrying masks and vests. No one likes to see that. So, from the beginning of the flight I was almost convinced we weren’t going to make it here. Then, almost all of the flight attendants were teenage looking boys. Weird. They barely do any kind of pre-flight safety stuff, and then without any notice we are taking off. At this point, I’m totally convinced something is wrong. So the plane takes off, yadayada, and I’m taking Hannah to the bathroom for a diaper change when I notice that half of the plane is EMPTY. So between our seats in the middle of the plane and the back seat there is almost no one! And when I get to the back of the plane I realize that there are 4 huge Air Marshall’s surrounding a guy who is Handcuffed!!! Ok, so I decide that while it is pretty unnerving to see a guy handcuffed on your plane, I feel a little better that we are surrounded by guys who could protect us, should anything happen. It was just weird, the whole plane ride, but let’s go to the awesome.
Awesome. 1. The plane ride was only 6.5 hours. Amazing! 2. This was our kids for about 4 hours:

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Empty Seats = Beds for All ( and a little bit of Dramamine never hurt anyone), except for Cole whose dad lovingly made him a bed on the ground. Our motto for the seatbelt sign?!?! If the flight attendant doesn’t say anything, then we are not waking our sleeping children.
So all that to say, we made it, and it was probably the smoothest traveling we have ever done. So thankful!
And last but not least, it always helps to be traveling to a country where car seats are optional because then your kids can ride home from the airport like this:


Catching up

One day I will get better at blogging, and hopefully today starts something consistent!! 🙂 I can always hope right? Nothin’ like a New Years Resolution in September.

I think this little place of mine will be a smorgasbord of everything. Pics of the kids, funny cultural stories, crazy adventures, and my monthly meal plan for my mother and sis-in-law (love you Joan and Les!)

So enjoy a little bit of chaos and craziness!
(And some favorites from the summer in America.)

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