28 August 2007

new car

No, we didn't get a minivan, despite many suggestions that it's time. Actually, we didn't even get a new car, but it feels like we did! In the past month, we've finally replaced the stereo that was stolen from our car last August. There's no longer a large whole in our dashboard. Joshua and Patience were very impressed that Mommy's car now has music, and it only cost us a few dollars for trim pieces thanks to our friend Dan who gave us the stereo. To make things even more exciting, Peter replaced our partially yellow back bumper tonight. We've been watching the paint flake off for quite some time now, but Peter recently found a matching bumper at a junkyard. We had designated some Christmas money for car repairs, but it took us this long to get to it. So our car now looks totally normal and won't embarrass us on the rare occasion when we're at a special event where these things are noticed. On the down side, we're going to have trouble locating our dark green Camry in crowded parking lots without the unique bumper design.

23 August 2007

getting ready for kindergarten

We finally heard today that we received approval for Joshua to start kindergarten at the school we requested! We're so thankful. We have to reapply each year for this exception, but we assume that it's just a technicality. It would be cruel to arbitrarily force kids to change schools. So now we're officially getting ready for school. Next week we will both go with Joshua to kindergarten orientation. We're also taking a big shopping trip to pick out a special lunch box. Then school starts the day after Labor Day. We've been talking about school all summer, but now we're talking about it constantly. Joshua seems excited, although he has asked several times whether we'll be at school with him. Please pray with us that his fears will not prevent him from enjoying the school transition. We really think he'll thrive in school if we can convince him to go.

20 August 2007

long week

We've been buried under a bunch of paperwork and car troubles the past week, so blogging hasn't been a priority. The kids are doing well though, and we'll try to update with some pictures in the next day or two.

13 August 2007

American birthday celebration

Last night we celebrated Joshua's 6th birthday (a few days early) with some of his aunts and uncles, a cousin, all his grandparents, and all his great grandparents there. We even included his "friends," as much as he understands having friends at this point. We've been talking about the party for a few weeks, so there was plenty of excitement around our house the past few days. It was fun to watch Joshua learn how to blow out candles. He was surprised by the presents, as we had left that part out of all our discussions. Actually, as one who has never planned a kids' birthday party, I forgot about the presents as well! People were leaving when Meg reminded me that Joshua hadn't opened them. It was a fun evening for us and hopefully for our guests as well. My only regret is that we don't have a bigger house so we could invite lots more family and friends to share this momentous first with us. Below are a few pictures from the big event.

Mommy explaining to Joshua how to blow out candles

3 down, 3 to go

Garty and Grandmom having a great time

Patience loving her cake

Joshua at the "after party" party considering becoming a Chippendale
(There's actually a simple not at all creepy explanation for this picture, but we prefer to make you wonder.)
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09 August 2007

sobering day

Today was one of those days that stops you in your tracks and makes you really think. This morning we went to a funeral for Peter's cousin's husband. Saturday was Carl's 45th birthday. He was camping with his wife and 10-year-old son when he suddenly died from a pulmonary embolism. We didn't really know Carl. We seldom see Susan, Peter's cousin. But you don't have to be close to someone to feel overwhelmed by the pain of a situation like this. We hear tragic stories so often that we can become nearly immune to them if we choose to. Then there are those times when the tragedies hit close to home, and we're faced with the apparent injustice of it all. By all accounts, Carl was an amazing man who loved God, his family, his friends, and the teens he worked with at church. He had so much to live for. At times like this, I'm so thankful I have confidence in a wise God who can see the bigger picture that I can't see. I don't know how anyone processes situations like this without that assurance. Please take a moment to pray for Susan and their son, Daniel, at this painful time. Then go and live today to the fullest with those you love.

our accomplishments

Our silence on this blog isn't because there's nothing to share. Actually, there has been a lot going on, and we've accomplished some great things in the last week or two. We've just been too lazy to post about them. So here, finally, is a list (in no particular order) of the big and small accomplishments in our little corner of the world.

Joshua and Patience will now play outside when we are inside. This may not seem like a big deal, but Joshua used to be absolutely terrified if we stepped inside for even a minute. Their confidence and comfort level are improving all the time.

Garty is now walking in earnest. He still prefers to crawl if he's in a hurry, but much of the time he can walk all the way across our living room, dining room, or kitchen without falling. To keep things exciting, this morning he climbed up next to me on the couch while I was reading to Joshua and Patience. After playing on the couch for 15 minutes or so, he decided to climb over the back of it. Climbing definitely adds an entirely new, and much more frightening, dimension to life at our house.

Joshua caught his first fish... a big, ugly catfish! Well, he may have had a little help from Grandpop... or maybe it was a 50/50 effort... or maybe Grandpop did all the work and Joshua just helped here and there... but the point is that it was his first fish! When he saw the big whiskers, he didn't want anything to do with it. This from a boy who ate Liberian soup with fish heads in it.

We had our second official date out thanks to Becky's parents who were great babysitters. We ate at Hart's Tavern, a favorite restaurant in Peddler's Village. The food isn't anything unusual, but it's cheap and the restaurant has lots of character. (We actually ate there on our wedding night.) Then we wandered the Village and stopped for ice cream on the way back. It's amazing how much cuter our kids are after a few hours away. We're trying to get out for a date one afternoon a month for now. It's frequently enough to keep us sane and connected to each other without being overwhelming for the kids.

We've had 2 opportunities to swim recently thanks to the Brandts and Becky's aunt and uncle. The kids are really starting to enjoy the pool and getting quite brave. They'll leap off the side of the pool at full speed, assuming that we'll actually catch them. Here they're demonstrating how they can put their whole face in the water. What a change from the kids who were petrified to get in the pool for the first time in Liberia. (In their defense, the green water did make it slightly less enticing.)

Peter has been training a new office manager at Worldlink who will take some of the day to day tasks like bookkeeping away from the rest of the staff. Previously everyone just pitched in as needed, but it was a tough way to run an office. Training someone takes a lot of time and makes it difficult to get anything else done, but he's seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and is looking forward to having freedom from some of the tasks that don't really utilize his gifts.

I'm mentally preparing for our 2nd annual Neighborhood Kids' Club and Neighborhood Cook Out. I was considering wimping out this year and taking a break, but the other day a kid from the neighborhood rode by and asked Peter when the club would be. That was enough of a motivator to convince me that we need to it. It's crucial to our ministry in this neighborhood, and we haven't done much to connect with anyone here since the kids came home. They're a convenient excuse for just about anything we don't want to make time to do. (When you tell people you just adopted 3 kids from Africa at one time, they'll forgive you for almost anything.) So the next few weeks will be very busy around here. We'll do our best to keep up with the blog for those of you that check every day and are terribly disappointed when there isn't any news.
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05 August 2007

where the US and Liberia meet

Patience is walking around with a bucket on her head calling, "something something pizza... something something pizza..." (I don't understand the something something) and distributing plastic pizza slices to us. It cracked me up because we saw so many women in Liberia walking the streets with really heavy pots and baskets of food on their heads. However, I'm pretty sure none of them were selling pizza.