Our journey

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Selah has prepared a few Christmas Carols to spread some Christmas cheer....

Christmas Pics....

Selah, please sit still and look at the camera. [Snap, snap, etc.]

Selah, please look at the camera. [snap.....snap]

Selah please don't push your sister over and look at the camera. [snap, snap]

Ahhhh, there it is. [After taking the picture, Selah kisses Eden, causing her to fall and hit her head. ] Okay, before everyone explodes, let's get a quick family picture.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Update on the Girls

Selah loves standing on the water bottle...I know, it doesn't look safe.

The other day I was playing with Selah as she built things with her Leggos. She made a tall tower of square Leggos and pointed to each one, saying, “This is Eden’s house; this is mommy’s; this is daddy’s.” At first I agreed with her without really paying attention, you know how toddlers’ imaginations work—sometimes you just agree and approve of what they say so they will stop saying it over and over. Then I looked at the “houses” and was struck with the realization that her idea of a “house” is not the same as mine. Since she has lived in this metropolitan city all her life, she thinks of houses as apartment buildings, each floor being someone’s home. I guess I need to stop drawing only houses with A-frame roofs and chimneys when we draw pictures.

When I look at pictures of Eden smiling, she has the prettiest little twinkle in her eyes. They just glow. What joy she brings to my life. She is so happy, always smiling and making happy noises. She doesn’t cry very much at all anymore. We went to the doctor today to get some immunizations and she was so brave, not crying at all for the first shot and just crying for a few seconds for the second one. She is 67 cm ( ~ 26.5 inches) and 8.5 kg (~18.7 pounds). Eden just finished 7 months and is wanting to be more mobile. While sitting, she will dive forward to her tummy to reach a toy. Yesterday she started really pushing with her legs to inch forward and get that toy that is just out of reach. I have started feeding her pureed foods like carrots, pumpkin, and apples.
Zeynep, our friend and fabulous babysitter

Friday, December 18, 2009

Language Class

We’ve been trying to get back into the swing of taking language classes, but it just isn’t working well for me, these days. I can’t seem to get any homework finished or memorize words. I’ve been quite frustrated with my language lately. It seems that I’ve gone backwards a bit—sometimes I can’t remember words or how to put sentences together correctly. Thankfully, I have patient friends. So, this Thursday was our last class for a couple months. Then we’ll try to do something again in February, I think.

I’m looking forward to this weekend. Selah officially turns 3 on Saturday and I turn 30 on Sunday. I’m 10 times as old is she is this year, to the day….won’t ever happen that way again, thankfully. Otherwise, I'd feel extremely old from here on out. Ryan has sweetly planned for someone to watch the girls on Sunday night (all night), so that we can enjoy a date and full night’s rest.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday, Selah!

We had Selah’s birthday party this past Saturday. We had a joint party with another American friend’s son, Nate, who turned 2 last week. It went well, we think. Only nationals were in attendance and it was a costume party. Selah dressed up as Snow White (thanks Bonnie and Gordon for the dress and slippers) and Nate was a cowboy. Eden wore a leotard onesie with an attached tutu, which made her a ballerina.
Snow White and her daddy
The birthday boy's little brother and the birthday girl's little sister

Originally, I wanted to make the birthday cake for this party, but got a little worried that the nationals wouldn’t like the cake since I use butter cream icing to decorate the cake, and cakes here tend to be less sweet than they are in the states. The over-achiever in me can be both a blessing and a curse. I found a beautiful Snow White fondant cake that I wanted to replicate for Selah, and was going to make a separate cowboy boot-shaped cake for Nate. Ryan was also in Germany for the week and returned home the morning of the party, so I didn’t want to be stressed about finding time to decorate the cake. So, I let my neighbor talk me into ordering a cake from the bakery. She told me she thought a cake would cost an equivalent of about $35 and I decided I was willing to spend that for a stress-free week. When we went to the bakery, we found that the simple birthday cakes, serving 15 people, start at $100. I immediately decided against ordering a cake for that absurd amount of money, but my neighbor talked me into it, reasoning that the cake is very important as far as the locals are concerned. She convinced me with this reason because I sometimes just want to blend in so badly that a lot of money doesn’t seem so bad if it achieves that end (and eliminates unwanted stress for myself).

So, we ordered the cake and my neighbor told me that I should probably make an extra, simple cake just in case the “small” one we ordered wasn’t enough. I made a 2-layer round carrot cake with cream cheese icing, because the nationals seems to like the cakes that have fruit as an ingredient. Since I wasn’t worried about having a pretty cake, I decided to do a simply design on top—a pink tiara for Selah and brown boots for Nate. I was really happy with the way it turned out and didn’t stress about it. The guests at the party both liked the cake and thought it was decorated really well. Lesson learned: I can make a cake that our friends will like and decorate it up to their standards without making myself miserable. I guess the $50 I spend on the cake was worth the stress prevention. And now I know what to expect in the future.

The cake I ordered from the bakery

the cake I made

The kids had a great time coloring and eating food that various people brought. Selah received a Barbie princess doll, a princess lunch bag, a snow hat, slippers, and lots more. The funniest gift was given by my neighbor. She bought aerosol deodorant for Selah--since Selah asks for grown-up girl things all the time. This morning as Ryan and I left for our language class, she had her shirt off trying to spray the deodorant on herself—but got her hair instead.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful, smart, and loving little Selah. I can’t believe you’re already 3. It just seems like a few months ago that I was coddling you in my arms and wondering how God could have made someone so amazing. I love you!
The entire group

Monday, December 14, 2009


Well, 3 weeks have passed and I've got FOUR blog updates for the week. So, keep checking in....it is my Christmas gift to our few, faithful remaining readers!

We celebrated Thanksgiving at our house this year.
I volunteered to make the turkey; I regretted it after I put it in the oven and found my anxiety level on the rise. This is my 3rd time to make a turkey for Thanksgiving, and every time I start having visions of the turkey disaster on the movie, Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation. Fortunately, the turkey was huge and tasted good, which made many full, happy guests. The members of our house church attended, as well as some others that needed a place to be on Thanksgiving.

The turkey in the brine

We get really excited about holidays here and have to plan in advance for them, so that we will have the appropriate supplies for the "I absolutely have to have __________ dish or it won't be ____________ holiday" people (I am certainly one of these people). As with anyone that is away for the holidays, they can be difficult for me. We don’t just assume that we’ll be with a certain group of people, because the same people aren’t here year after year. We have to be proactive in finding a way to spend the holidays. Last year, we realized that we didn’t have anywhere to go just a few days before Thanksgiving and called some friends and invited ourselves to their house. We try to recreate traditions and foods, but something is still missing….the spirit of the holiday, the traditions that “just happen” as a result of being in America and being with good friends and family.

After Thanksgiving dinner, in a very surreal moment, I was playing cards with the ladies and found myself joking around, Ryan calls it “sassing”. In those 10 minutes, I felt more "myself," while on this soil, than I’ve felt since we moved here. It was nice. Maybe it will seep out more often and I will start to find myself more and more comfortable in the culture, stores, traditions, etc. Maybe I’ll find a friend who is a kindred spirit, who is a part of the local culture…and she can usher me into these comforts. Or maybe I’ll just be uncomfortable for a while longer. Either way, I’m here, doing what I feel called to do and doing my best to glorify my heavenly Father.