Monday, October 29, 2007

Mobility

video

Walking at nine months. ptooey. We've considered hobbling her but that doesn't seem like the loving parent thing to do. Sorry grandfolk -it looks like the "baby" will be an accomplished toddler by Christmas.

In addition to thinking this baby stage has gone by WAY too fast, I had to hold back tears in Walmart last night. We were picking up winter wardrobes for the crew and something about 10 slims put a huge lump in my throat. I looked at Tim and said "we've never had to buy pants this big. I'm going to cry." He laughed and decided to help the situation by pointing out how Isaiah's head comes only a few inches below his (Tim's) shoulder. Tim is not short, he is average. (in height -in everything else he is far above average ;-)) Isaiah is six and a beast.

My babies are growing up. That's kinda the point, isn't it? In many ways I can't wait for them to go. Just thinking of all the time Tim and I will have together for uninterrupted conversations, ahem, among other things =) makes me very excited about the way God worked this family thing out. In other ways, well...swallowing lumps. Gotta go.

Side note to Tara -jeans are nothing compared to college. Loving you and feeling your pain in small ways!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Weighing in...

After such loving and supportive comments on my last post =) I decided I better get something new up and fast.




Tim and I have been working for a couple of months (well, for years actually but I'm talking consistently) on developing healthier and perhaps somewhat thinner versions of ourselves. Better food choices, discipline in portioning, and exercise are the basics of our plan. I don't count calories, I don't add up fat grams, and most of all I don't like the scale. It's all about the numbers. In fact, we haven't owned a scale for many, many years because I know my weakness. I have a tendency to obsess. The number on the scale becomes all-powerful and that's just an annoying way to live. Despite this, I caved to the request of my husband to purchase a scale. I've weighed myself five times in the five days we've owned it. For those of you who aren't math-minded -that's once a day. Not bad. Not obsessing. Still more than really necessary but I feel good that I have made my peace with the scale. Tim, on the other hand...

weighs himself constantly. Not so much because he cares what it says but because he is so fascinated by the fluctuation of the number through out the day. He wakes up, he weighs. He runs, he weighs. He showers, he weighs. He eats, he weighs. He poops, he weighs.

(Tim would like for me to point out that he has never weighed himself post-poop. This is just an example of his wife exaggerating the truth for the sake of humor. However, he does admit that his curiosity is now peaked, so there's that.)

A few mornings ago he came into the bedroom and said, "I gained six pounds with breakfast and shoes." I shook my head and said, "maybe you should stop eating shoes for breakfast." ;-)

If I'd known how much fun he would have with this new "toy" I would've waited and given it to him for Christmas. Who knew?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Five Second Rule

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"The five-second rule is a popular urban legend, and common rule among many people today, regarding the eating of food that has been dropped on the ground. The origins of the tale are unknown. It claims that if food falls on the ground, it may be safely eaten as long as it is picked up within 5 seconds.
There are many local variations on the rule. In many areas the time limit is modified so that it is known variously as the three-second rule, seven-second rule, eight-second rule, or ten-second rule. In some variations, the person picking up the food arbitrarily extends the time limit based on the actual amount of time required to retrieve the food."

Like many of you, we have our own family variation of this rule. It goes something like this: If you can reconstitute it with your own saliva -have at it. Come on, freeze dried -- floor dried? Is there really that big a difference? (For those of you speed dialing social services...it's a joke! Please, put the phone down.)

But let's ponder this for a moment, shall we? Why? Because I have nothing else to blog about that's why. Work with me, people.
Why is it that only certain foods are given the benefit of this rule? Cookies, candy, gum...the fun foods. They are just naturally ushered under the protective umbrella of retrievable, rule-worthy foods. But what of the sad green bean? The lowly brussel sprout? The lima? (I realize many people don't eat these even when they aren't on the ground but that's not the point.) Are they not worthy of redemption? Have they no value in our eyes? Am I truly this desperate for blog material?! ugh.

Okay, in an effort to salvage the senseless ramblings of someone who probably just needs to sweep her floor instead of pondering the depths of discarded food, I will say this: I think that there are times that I must look to God like a steamed squash that's been dropped on, kicked across, and smushed into the carpet of Golden Corral. eeeewwww. I'm glad He is willing to scoop me up and knock the dirt off.

End of silliness. Have a great day!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Diarrhea and the State Fair

The title doesn't mean to imply that one was the cause of the other only, that the two collided in the most inopportune way. We made plans last night to attend the fair today and besides the threat of rain (which wasn't really a bad thing given how desperately we've needed it) everything was set for a fun day. Then at 3:00 in the morning we heard the opening and closing of doors -someone was in the bathroom. No biggie -back to sleep. Then about 15 minutes later the doors again. Interesting. And then 5 minutes later the sound of Isaiah's heavy foot steps coming across the house and to our bedroom..."Mama, my stomach hurts." deep sigh.
After a few minutes of snuggling and a dose of acidophilus, I manage to get him back in the bed. He was up at least twice more before the night was over. But by 8:30 this morning he was feeling "just fine." (reminder to self: children are liars -especially when the fair is at stake) I kept thinking I should hit him with another dose of good bugs but with the chaos of getting everyone ready, I didn't. We headed out despite the rain and clouds and were a cheerful bunch on our way to the fair.
We paid the mob boss, uh, parking attendant the $10 (plus Tim's index finger) and unloaded the tribe. Bella's stroller served as a portable center of operations weighted down with the diaper bag, camera, snacks, ponchos, etc. We were ready for bear. (and may have actually seen some except for the additional fee of $5 per person into the rare and amazing bear exhibit). Instead, we marked our trail through all of the freebies and headed to the Poultry Tent. We'd driven forty minutes, walked 15, and it was all going to pay off in chickens. =) The best part of this exhibit is the open bins where you can terrorize, er, hold baby ducks and chicks. Here is Bella checking out a chocolate brown duckling. She doesn't look very impressed, huh?


The worst part of the poultry tent was the heat, humidity, and smell of steaming bird poop. It was a nuisance to most of us but it sent Isaiah over the edge. "My stomach doesn't feel good again." Holy heartburn, Batman! To the porta-potty, Robin. Tim and the three healthy tummies continued their tour o' fowl while Diz and I dashed for the closest facilities. I think being inside of a porta-let on a humid day offers us a glimpse of hell. The air was stifled from the heat and other obvious reasons. These things are NOT made for two people. Isaiah was sweating and clammy at the same time. I took his shirt off and began waving it to try and create some air flow. You know how when you have a virus and you want so badly to rest your head against something cool? Now you can picture me trying to balance Isaiah's semi-limp body and pleading with him not to lean on the walls of the poop tube.

Now, I'm sweating and standing on tippy-toes to get my face as close to the tiny vents at the top as possible. And just when I think it's almost over...I hear this strange noise coming from Izzy's stomach. For a minute I thought he's got the hiccups? No. It wasn't the hiccups. I should be so lucky. Mind you, the diarrhea hasn't stopped yet. I looked around in a panic expecting to be standing in vomit any second. I did the only thing I could. I grabbed his head and shoved it in the direction of the urinal. Now, that's what you call killing two birds with one porta-john. We finally made it out of there and believe it or not -Isaiah perked up. We continued our day with the understanding that if Isaiah called it, we would leave without question and with NO complaints (directed to his less-than-compassionate siblings).



Our next stop was the goat, pig, and miscellaneous animal exhibit. Here we have Nathan and a jackass. Oh, and Tim, of course. What did you think I meant? ;-) Seriously, we know there is a difference between a burro, a donkey, and a jackass but we were clueless as to which this fella was classified as. He seemed nice enough though, so maybe that narrows it down. For the record, we didn't see the "don't touch the animals" sign until after the fact. oops.



Here are a few more pictures:




Our traditional "we were there, too" self-portrait.

Bella could only take so much.

That timer feature comes in handy!

And last but not least, our final stop of the day -the amazing pig races! We sat for fifteen minutes staring into the empty track...waiting anxiously for the race which took a grand total of 3.2 seconds! And we would have seen another 3 second race (I know -that much excitement in one day should be unlawful) BUT that is when the bottom dropped out and the rains came down. So, we made a mad dash for the van and I can declare to you that it was the most disastrously successful trip to the fair ever!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bullies

"Nobody likes you because you're adopted!" Ouch. Or how about a slap in the face? Which do suppose is more painful? You could ask my kids. They have been the recipients of both in the past few days. It seems we have a bully in our midst. A young lady (or not so much) has decided to terrorize our crew. It's a bit surprising since just days ago she was among several girls enjoying Mamoune's company and baby dolls. My how fickle we females can be.


Nathan was the first to face off with her. He came away with two slaps to the face. Can you see this Mama Bear's blood boiling? Then the next day she set her sights on Isaiah. She started stealing his toys away and laughing. He stood up for himself -yeah! She smacked him -boo! Then Mamoune came to his defense and the girl's fury was transferred to her. Yep. She got smacked, too. Right in the face. Then came the verbal torment regarding adoption. Oh yeah, I was sufficiently steamed. I wanted nothing more than to march out there and stomp this child into the ground. But something tells me that having been taunted for being different, my kids might not benefit the most by their "different" mom storming in like some kinda red-headed Godzilla, devouring the village children. I did, however, consider arming them with an arsenal of slightly overripe avocados and turning them loose. ;-)


Here's the deal... the slapping thing is just mean. And we are still working on the best solution for that problem. But the adoption comments -those are just rooted in ignorance. I asked the kids if hearing that made them wish they were not adopted. Mamoune openly admitted that it did. I asked her what she had done to cause this girl to be hateful? Nothing. So my next question was "do you think if you weren't adopted this girl would suddenly be your best friend or would she still be mean just for the sake of being mean?" They all agreed that she was just mean for the fun of it and it really has little to do with them. As I said, we are still working through our plan for handling these situations in the future but at least we know the kids are seeing it for what it is. And above all, we are encouraging them to "love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." A lesson that is sure to be repeated many times over in their less than normal lives.

Addendum: While retrieving a soccer ball later in the evening, Tim was able to talk to the group of girls (bully included). He asks them if they knew what adoption was. He wasn't surprised to find that no one did. So, he explained it to them and told them very condensed versions of our kids stories. There were several "that's cool" comments and hopefully understanding will be the key to ending the nonsense. Red-headed Godzilla's husband is much smarter and calmer than her. =)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Avaca-who?

Being one of a very few white people in our neighborhood and certainly being the only white couple with black children raises a few eyebrows. We're used to it. And we've found that transparency is our best ally. It's one of those "elephant in the room" situations where everyone feels better after someone states the obvious. But despite our best efforts to face things head on and not to stand out more than necessary, there are times when even the smallest thing can draw attention. For example....

There is a food pantry that runs out of the Dubois Center just a block from us. I don't usually get to take advantage of it because it hits in the middle of Bella's nap time but after one of our neighbors came by and encouraged me to "get up there and get some sweet potatoes for these babies." I did just that. Among other things, there was a large box at one end that I found to be FULL of avocados. Two things to note:

1-The box was full, as in no one had touched them despite the fact that they were just about to close up shop. Clearly not a fave.

2-Avocados are INSANELY expensive. We're talking $1 plus each. That's not in the budget.

I had to make a choice. Lay claim to this mystery produce even though it was apparently not a staple in most homes around here and face the stares or walk away avocado-less and save face of sorts. Well, the budget won out and I began loading my bag with the purple gems. Suddenly, it felt like all eyes were on me. (Kinda the way I felt once when I retrieved a lime from a lime tree at my daughter's former orphanage and proceeded to peel and eat it. The kids began to circle up around me and the nannies and kitchen staff came out of the wood work to stare at me. Turns out that Haitians ONLY use limes to clean chickens before they cook them. I could of chugged a bottle of Mop-n-Glow and they would have been no less amazed.) Anyway, back to the current story.

The conversation with on-lookers went something like this:

What exactly are those?

Me: um, avocados

uh-huh. And what do you plan to do with them?

Me: well, I'll probably use them to make salsa or dip for nachos.

(At this point, one of the ladies who oversees the pantry leans in to me and says "honey, take all of those that you want 'cause we don't eat those things and they will just rot." I smiled and tried to down play my interest.)

So, what exactly do they taste like?

Me: um, well, I-uh-I guess they just taste like whatever you mix with them.

They all laughed and nodded graciously and I took the opportunity to move quickly to the sweet potatoes, a nice safe produce. The truth is, I think avocados taste something like the flavor you would get by mixing root beer and cucumbers and then belching. Yet somehow, if you add enough garlic, onions, and tomato-- it's delicious! Go figure.

Note to self: Try not to get too excited if the food pantry ever offers artichokes.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It ain't Mr.Roger's neighborhood...

I've been hesitant to write much about our neighborhood and some of the interesting situations we find ourselves in because 1-I don't know who may have access to a computer and may happen across our blog, 2-I don't want to offend anyone, and 3-I don't want to freak the grandparents out too badly. But here's the deal -we started this blog so that we would have the prayer support of our friends and families while on the mission field. We aren't in Haiti but we are still on a mission field (so are you, btw) and we still need the prayers and support of our friends and family. So, I'm breaking the silence.


What do you do when you see a young man and young woman beating each other down in their front yard? Cursing, screaming, punching, kicking, beating each other? Now, before you get too pious and try to lay it out to me in simple terms...call the police, duh! What if making that call could put you and your children in real danger? Not so simple anymore, is it? This is the question we've found ourselves grappling with since the aforementioned scenario played out before us.


Let me interject some assurance for the hand-wringers in our reading audience: My kids were across the street playing football. They did not hear or see any of this. I'm so thankful for the ways God protects them. Also, we DO feel safe here -usually. This was just one of those moments that caught us off guard. And really, what if we don't always feel safe? What should be our response? Move? (the grandparents say "Amen" :-)) Well, we can't afford it and even if we could, is that fair? What about the sweet grandmas who live near us, or the single moms, or the kids -do they feel safe all the time? I doubt it but I don't recall hearing a plan B from any of them. This is reality and escaping reality isn't an option for most people.

How ironic is it that a family who was ready to go to a third world country and brave the malaria is suddenly asking "what have we gotten ourselves into?" I think what we are "into" is a world who needs Jesus; people who need a break, who need hope and help for right now -today, and by His grace the opportunity to form some uncommon and eternal friendships.

So, we covet your prayers. Prayers for wisdom in every situation and for protection when needed. Pray for the many wonderful people we have met and hope to build relationships with. Pray that we will be able to continue ministering to our community in tangible ways and that we will be fearless to do what is right but smart at the same time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bella, Bella




A quick post to Bella's future husband: Get ready boy. This girl's got some serious pucker power.



As you can see, Bella recently discovered that she has a mouth and can do crazy things with it to keep us all laughing. Somebody give that girl a trumpet!











Here she is as the poster child for baby botox or macaroni and cheese, whichever. Yes, that is her tongue serving as her upper lip.






She's learning new things every day. We're so proud. =) Here are a few more Bella moments for your enjoyment:






What? Do I have something on my face?

If you're happy and you know it...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Just for you...

I have nothing to blog about. Ok, there's the usual day in-day out stuff but nothing truly interesting. Despite this, I am blogging. I am blogging for one reason and one reason only: because my very dear and very pregnant friend who MIGHT not be able to sleep tonight as she counts down the hours to the delivery of her seventh child, MIGHT be awake at some absurd hour, and MIGHT want something to read. This is for you Tara Belle!

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering....

(chuckling) Just kidding. You'll have to read Tara's comment from the last post to fully understand that.

Ok, so here's the latest news from the Sexton household. Raleigh the needy dog is back. Sorry Millenders, I'm just calling it like I see it. Not only does he take serious his responsibility to never let me pee alone but he's smarter this time. Oh yes. This time -it's personal. Let me explain. There are two doors leading into my bathroom. One from the bedroom and one from the closet. If I entered from the bedroom, Raleigh would quickly dart into the closet and be standing guard at the toilet by the time I turned around. I now have to step into the bathroom, close the door and RUN across the room to the other door before Sir Poopsalot gets there. But refusing to suffer complete defeat, the crazy dog lays by the door and sighs deeply and repeatedly until I come out. One of us needs therapy but I'm not sure which one at this point.

Other than dog issues, Tim is away for a couple of nights and we are holding down and cleaning the fort in preparation for grandparents coming this weekend. Bella is taking a few steps and I think they will be amazed by how much she has grown.

I'm afraid I have nothing else. Sorry, Mrs. Livesay but you may have to read your Bible now.
;-)