Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sweet 16

Actually, Sweet 61.
(though if you click here, you can see her blowing out the candles at her sweet 16 party)

Today my mom turned 61, so we spent the afternoon doing something that we knew she'd really love.

No, not exactly the spa.

A little trail hiking and a picnic lunch. And a LOT of rolling down hills. (Even grandma got in on the action!)

It was a great day and according to Grandma, she enjoyed this birthday party more than the big one we threw for her last year!
Happy Birthday Mom!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hot For Lemonade

Today Amelle had her 1st dance recital.
I'll be honest. We weren't confident that that this was going to go well.

Amelle loves performing in front of audiences, conceptually that is. Practically, though, not so much. Remember this incident?

But today went off without a hitch. Amelle did GREAT and I expect that we'll see her on stage more in the future!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ever Feel Like This?

I have. In fact, for the last month I've felt like this.

But I'm back!

Yep. That's right. Today the fog lifted. I can't explain it, all I can say is that I was driving to work and I noticed it was gone. I called Dirt and immediately told him, "It's gone - I feel better".

I've been sort of secretive about my disposition because I didn't want anyone to blame Africa for it, but the truth is, I've been in a funk since I came back. Apparently all very normal, but believe me, I've felt anything but.

The good news is that today it was gone. The Lord lifted it up off me! Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spongebob Mompants

I got my braces off today. Under normal circumstances this would be a huge joy, but...

I have a new jail.

This is my retainer. You might notice something unusual about this retainer: there is a front tooth in it.

I have a love/hate relationship with that tooth. I love it, cause the alternative to this tooth is that I walk around looking like an overgrown 6 year old, with a huge gap in my smile. Very Maine. I hate it because it's attached to my retainer, not my mouth.

I'm getting an implant, which, for those who don't know, is a long process. I am getting the screw (the implant) in 2 weeks, then I have to wait a few months to get my permanent tooth. So this is my new oral hell.

Tonight when I took it out to show the kids, Maya told me I looked like Sponge Bob. That's about all the visual you will get of me without this retainer in my mouth.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


He just turned six. I really like him. He's zany and I happen to like zany people.

Especially when they are my nephew. He woke up on the day he turned six thinking that he was taller and could read. See, I told you he's zany. I love this kid.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Philly Boy

How happy do you think Dirt is that Avery wound up on the Phillies?
If you said "very happy", you would be correct.

How sure are you that Maya ate some of this sand?

If you said, "very sure", you would be correct.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

If you don't have anything nice to say...

...don't say anything at all.
I'm in kind of a poopy place today.

No, not the bathroom. Emotionally poopy.

I could drone on and tell you all the poopy things I'm thinking about...

...but blah. Why bring you down?
Wait a second, do I see little raccoons on Maya's shorts? Why yes I do. If I ruled the world, I would make a decree that all 3 year olds must wear shorts with little embroidered raccoons on them at least once per week (weather permitting). Yeah I would.
Though that might increase child abductions.
I may have to rethink my decree.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Be Cool Like Wendy

Last Christmas my adorable niece, Mina, received a beautiful Ugandan beaded necklace from from her favorite, awesome, talented, loving, compassionate, sweet, Auntie (yours truly).

Wendy, being the fashionista that she is, borrowed this necklace for our African excursion. You may not know this, but fashion is very important to orphans. It's important to make sure one is properly beaded before becoming a jungle gym for them to romp on. Those orphans are picky that way.

Now YOU too can become fashionable like Wendy. One of my RLC friends, Brandi, just came home from Uganda and brought tons of these awesome beads with her. Visit her blog and buy some now. She is selling them for $10 (which is half the price I paid for these same beads 6 months ago), AND 100% of the proceeds go to Uganda in support of these beautiful people.

If you want to read more about her trip, grab some tissues and visit these blogs:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Mother's Day - Part III

Two years ago I received this awesome Mother's Day gift from Avery. It's a "magazine", a 2nd grade exclusive Mother of the year edition of TIME. You probably don't know that I was named mother of the year in 2007, but I was.

Yes, this is me. A little "library lady", but that's okay, I was still honored to receive this warm and wonderful gift.


Page 4. Page four depicts a "photograph" of the mother doing what she loves best. Here's me:

I'm in bed.

This might seem shallow, but the only thing I could think of is what the teacher must think of me. In bed??!! Like I'm some kind of sloth mom? I may be a lot of things, but one thing I don't do is lay around in bed all day. As far as moms go, I'm pretty busy. Now don't get me wrong, that's not to say that I don't love going to bed at night, cause I do. I love my bed. It is my sanctuary after a long day. But I retire there AFTER the kids are in bed. How does he know my secret? ..and now the world knows!

When Amelle landed the same 2nd grade teacher this year I knew it was an opportunity for me to redeem myself. Come Mother's Day I knew that I would be cast again as the mom of the year and my girl Amelle would do me right.

So here's this year's rendition. I'm more youthful, a little edgy even with my messy hair and loop earrings, black turtleneck...very sheek if I do say so myself. But what's that? A yellow highlighter over my braces-clad teeth? What is this?! She so proudly explained that she even colored my rubber bands yellow. A few weeks ago, apparently around the time this portrait was rendered, Amelle told me my teeth looked yellow, and she was right. Right after I got my new clear rubber bands, I ate two smart dogs loaded up with mustard, which stained and discolored them. I walked around for 4 weeks with yellowish bands. Luckily for me, these yellow bands are not only captured in all of my Africa pictures, but also on the cover of TIME magazine.

But it gets worse.

Amelle is always on my case about my computer time. I often work from home and of the three, she tends to jockey for my attention while I'm working. I figured that she was going to ding me for this, so I was prepared for a picture of me on the computer, which I was okay with. Anything is better than laying in bed. I hurried to open the cover in search of the "photograph" of what I like doing the most and I come across this:

I didn't understand this picture, so I inquired about it.

Amelle tells me that I'm in bed reading.

In BED again!

What the heck!?! I have one last chance with this project 5 years from now. I am going to ingrain in Maya that I love helping orphans, or going to the beach, or exercising, or baking organic whole wheat cookies, or anything but being in bed. I hate the bed. Bed = bad.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Part II

So on Mother's Day, I decided that we'd go to Canobie Lake Park.
Mothers get in free on Mother's Day, and with the economy the way it is and all...

Plus, if I'm honest, I figured the place would be a ghost town. I mean, what other mother would willingly give up her special day of rest and relaxation to go to an amusement park?

It turns out that there were actually a TON of mothers who are crazy enough to do this.

which left me not only very disappointed in the size of the lines, but I was also upset that my noble act of self sacrifice was not as noble as I had envisioned it to be.
Plus I was exhausted today.
Next year I'm going to the spa.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

So it's Mother's Day. My day began at 6:45 with Dirt's iphone alarm going off in the kitchen....downstairs.
I rolled out of bed at 7 and with bare feet, made my way downstairs to silence said alarm. On my way down stairs I stepped in huge chunks of dirt that were laying like boobie traps on each step, no doubt remnants from Dirt's boots (no wonder I call him Dirt). Last night he had set an eel trap in an attempt to collect eels in time for mother's day for his fishing excursions. Knowing how much I like eels (aka water snakes) and all...

These things are going to live in our garage. Yes I am skeeved. They will move out if: 1) I start having nightmares about them, 2) one of them escapes.

Okay, I'm off course, let's get back to the topic at hand, Mother's Day.

Thinking that I could capitalize on Mother's Day, I asked the kids to sit still for a photograph. With all the photos I snap, you'd think that I'd have at least one decent picture of all three of my kids, but I don't.

And after today, I still don't.

Avery is old enough to understand that Mother's Day etiquette involves a certain level of obedience to one's mother. The other two...not so much. Amaya was particularly not understanding. When she handed me her Mother's Day gift that she had made at school, she smiled proudly and then tore it back out of my hands, demanding that she unwrap it. When I tried to tell her that it was suppose to be a gift for me, for Mother's Day, she said, "NO! It's my Mother's Day gift!". I disagreed, but then let her open it. Then when she saw the candy that was inside, she decided that the contents also belonged to her. She stuffed her mouth shamelessly.

But I love them and I LOVE BEING THEIR MOM.

Thank you Lord, for the gift of motherhood.

Thank you also for my mother and my mother-in-law. I am so blessed to have these amazing women in my life.

I would be remiss if I didn't also share my heavy heart today. This Mother's Day I am thinking about the multitudes of children I recently met (and those like them) who do not have mothers. I pray that God will continue to use me to help unite them with mothers and sponsor-mommys.

(Bereket, my soon-to-be-sponsor-son, is furthest right.)

...and today I am also thinking of my dear friend Nancy, who just became a mother recently. I hope today is everything you dreamed it would be! Happy Mother's Day to you!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Separated at Birth?

Did you guys see this picture yet? I think I posted in somewhere, but maybe not here on the blog.

While we were at HFTH in Addis Ababa, Wendy kept whispering to me, "this kid reminds me of Avery". Then I finally stepped back and looked at him, and she was completely right! No wonder I was drawn to him and have 100 pictures of this sweet boy! He so resembled my son! They are the same age and both have names that begin with A.

I will be thinking of him tomorrow on Mother's Day. I don't know what his story is, but I know that he doesn't have parents. Until he is sponsored and given a "new mother", I will be praying for him.

Monday, May 04, 2009

How Was It?

I’ve been trying to come up with an answer to the question, “how was your trip?”. But I can’t.

How do you describe a place that is destitute?

Yet breathtakingly beautiful?

How do you describe unspeakable faith

in the midst of uncertainty

Joy in the midst of sorrow?

Provision in the midst of need?

How do you describe this little boy's smile? How do you adequately share that you met him on the side of the road when he appeared out of nowhere to pick a crumb of your cookie off the ground; or how good it felt to hand him the rest of the cookie and watch him devour it.

How do you tell people about Hannah and her faith that moves mountains?

How is it possible to share what it’s like to have an orphan pray for you? Do you tell them about Sammi's fervent, five minute long prayer that left you and twelve others in tears? Do you share that he was twelve, barefoot, in tattered clothes with no food, no money for schooling, no possessions, no parents and he was praying for us?

...or about the tears rolling down Ficatu’s face as he talked about the suffering of one of the orphans before she came to live at his orphanage? ...and your surprise to learn that the girl he was telling you about was the one you noticed on your way in that day, because of her incredible smile.

...or the way Telagne's trembling body collapsed into our arms when we shared that we were going to help her by providing mattresses and blankets and help find sponsors for the children in her care...not because of the mattresses, but because God had answered her prayers.

...or the feeling the stirred inside when you learned that the 8 year old girl giggling and hanging upside down from your waist is HIV positive…

…or what it’s like to get clobbered with sticky kisses, hugs, and broken English “I love yous”

…or what it’s like to give them to a swarm of kids without getting a fly in your mouth :-)

…or how it feels to tell an orphan, “I love you” – and mean it.

..or what it means to receive a love note from an orphan...or a necklace off of their neck, or a rose...without them wanting anything in return because they're happy just knowing that they have given you something.

…or what it’s like to feel God smile, because He’s glad you came.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

People Need Shoes

You didn't think I'd forget, did you?

Um, I just came back from Africa. There are some serious footwear issues there. Even if I had forgotten (and I'm not saying I did), but if had, Africa would've reminded me.

See all these footwear pics? I took them last week when I was in Africa.

We're going to help.

We're going to have parties at our houses and people are going to bring their surplus shoes to us, and then we're going to send them off to Soles for Souls, and then Soles for Souls is going to send them off to people who need them.

Yes. It's gonna happen. We're going to make it happen.

And, it's going to be fun.

And, it's going to make us feel good.

It's true.

Now, I'm going to count back from 5 to 1, and when I snap my fingers you will awaken and begin jotting down a list of names of people who you would like to invite.

That's the first step.