Friday, October 30, 2015

Suit's return

Hubs returned and brought pictures of the colorful city with him. We have some seriously happy boys in here.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Happy Birthday, hubs! 

This week he celebrated 35. He calls it the new "prime." And he's still got the energy to prove it. He did an adventure race a few weeks ago that involved an ice water pit, rope climbing and a few other crazy obstacles. He still has he war wounds to show for it!

We celebrated early with carrot cake, a game of Ticket to Ride and a Treasure Hunt for snickers compliments of the boys. He flew out on the actual day for business meetings. That's 35 for you;)

As you might imagine. Hubs has quite a following in the 'hood since he is wrestler extraordinaire. A few friends made his a card. 

The very creative inscription reads, "Uncle, you are the lightening and Aunty, Jude, Silas and Asher are the clouds as you are protecting them. Many more happy returns of the day." 

How could I top that? We love you, David!!!

Monday, October 26, 2015


The holidays are over.  Normal life resumes again today.  Silas had a project due on his sense of smell. Jude is in the throes of a spelling test. Asher is sleeping, exhausted from the flurry of it all. 

Before life moves on though, I wanted to share a few pictures from the celebrations on this side.  We live in what I truly believe to be one of the most beautiful and fascinating cultures in the world. When my neighbors celebrate, they don't hold anything back. It is loud and long and pulsing with energy.  One night last week, they had a neighborhood dance party to show their traditional flare off even in this metropolitan city.  

It was beautiful. 

And far too fast paced to really capture well. But here's a glimpse.

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Hubs was working with the boys today at the pool on their creative dive skills.

Jude's "plane" jump:

Silas's "tiger" dive: 

What a set of skills these boys are amassing on this vacation:) 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Today I taught Jude how to fast forward through the dragons.

Life Skills 101.

Because let's face it, Pinterest only supplies the craft ideas, not the mom-energy to do them.

Ah, a happy dragon-free movie afternoon! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Did every one know about fun with cornstarch except for me? A friend saw the crafting in my air this week and tipped me off. The boys played in this mess for close to 45 minutes. That's success in my house!

I admit that I totally enjoyed it too. There's some wild texture in there. A melting and wiggling mess with a box of corn flour and water. Who knew? 

We do now. 

I didn't really know what I was getting with this. I just saw that box of cornstarch and started pouring. Of course, by the end it was all over the table. Next time, I'll probably put a poster board down that we could just pick up and throw away or I'll take it out to the porch and wash it down the drain. But even with it pretty much covering the kitchen, the clean up was less than 15 minutes. 

If you're looking for some stories to go along with this, I grabbed The Jesus Storybook Bible and read God Sends Help (p326, the Holy Spirit coming to our hearts is "almost as if all the coldness and hardness were melting away.") along with The Treasure Hunt (p250, bury a few treasures to dig out). 

Have fun!!!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Campfires & Chaos

It's a bit chaotic around here with the brothers out of school. Our energy levels are up. Waaaaay up. I never realized just how much they burn off at school. Today I added "run laps" to their chore chart. We just have to drive it out one way or another. I can only take so much wrestling. 

I keep reminding myself that this would be my real, every day life if we were in the States. And providentially, I am here in these preschool years. A kinder gift in many ways than I fully realize. 

This weekend we went to the mall. I am considering banning our family from arcades for the next 20 years. After a couple of hours of buzzing holiday chaos, I felt, um, frazzled.

So we drove out to the country for our evening entertainment. Hubs took his machete, which is an unfailing win in boy-land.We built a campfire and watched the sun set. Those are the moments when I absolutely love this boy-mom business. 


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Tractor Train

This farmer's daughter found so much about this little train fantastic! 

This one is for you, Dad.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Taste of Homeschool

We're in deep over here.  I'm spending my evenings searching art projects and pincher grip activities. The internet is....well, it's a web....and I'm tangled up in crafts and toddler tips. This feels like a trial run at homeschooling, sans the pressure of knowing that their early academic development is resting on my little shoulders.  

We're having fun. More fun than I thought.  

It's a different routine.  But I am finding that vacation or not, I just thrive (as do my little people) in routine and schedule.  We're sticking to our list of activities each day, worksheets included, and loving it. Spontaneity to me is waiting to decide if we'll go for our "swim hour" in the morning or the afternoon.  It's good to know yourself.  

Here's a peek at our morning: 

Silas needs to work on his "pincher grip." This was the information I received at our last PTM.  So, we're stringing beads on spaghetti noodles mashed into play dough.  If you google pincher grip activities, the world is the limit, friends.  

Next up, fingerprint critters accompanied by a little video on the unique you in everyone's fingertips.

This afternoon, hubs had an errand that required him to drive across the city.  It takes about an hour to get into the center from our house.  So the boys loaded up, took the Chronicles of Narnia cds our sweet friends sent, and headed out for the journey.  Asher, sleep deprived from the lively household, is napping. 

I listened to this fantastic podcast , entitled Audio Books For Parents Who Don't Like Reading Aloud, while the boys played outside this morning.  My friend, Bonnie, recommended Read Aloud Revival to me. Let me recommend it to you. There are so many helpful links, books, and tips...and I've only listened to a few episodes so far.  

A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh read by Peter Dennis is officially on my wish list! 

Farewell for now. 

"Sometimes the littlest things take up the most room in your heart." 

- A.A. Milne

Monday, October 12, 2015

Unexpected Holiday

The state government declared a mandatory two week school holiday. They made the announcement Friday. It started today.  The kids are elated. The parents are, um, feeling surprised. 

So let's scratch all those plans for the next two weeks during school time. We are pulling all the stops. Jude made a list of things that would make a holiday so special. Hilariously enough, he and Silas both agreed that worksheets are a necessity. My Asian babies! They love a good worksheet;)

Today was homemade play dough and volcanos.  It was a big hit. It might have taken us longer to prepare and clean up than to actually erupt, but who's counting? We've yet to do the straw races that are on the schedule for today. The excitement is building. 

You may be amused to know that the topic I picked last night for our story and craft theme this week is : 

Give thanks in all circumstances

And so we will. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

paneer progress

I marinated paneer and baked it. I'm trying to branch out. It was pretty good. I still can't figure out what he local restaurants are doing to theirs to make it so fantastic though. I'll try again soon. Progress, I'm making progress with paneer. 

For dessert I made fruit pizza...only they were squares not a pizza. And I had to use strained yogurt in lieu of cream cheese. Kiwi and pomegranate were the right combo. They were delicious! 

I had a really cute helper too....

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Eight Years

David and I celebrated 8 years of marriage yesterday.  When we looked at the calendar to plan our month, the little anniversary was forgotten.  We remembered sometime this weekend as he was packing his bag for a trip. Ooops.  Old love is so much more comfortable.  He returned late last night from a training, just in time for leftover chicken noodle soup and some heart shaped sugar cookies that I made with the boys.  We really do it up big over here!

We took a lunch date today to catch up while the boys were at school and have plans for a visit to an exquisite palace restaurant. (yep, that's what you get to do when you live in old lands:)  I've been wanting to try it for a couple years! I'll keep you posted.

This also marks the week that we first landed in South Asia.  It was four years ago.  Almost half of our marriage has been lived in the land of curry and wild traffic.  There are some really difficult things about living overseas. And there are some tremendous gifts as well. Near the top of my list would be the impact that it has had on our marriage.

Generally speaking, when you travel abroad with people you get to discover things about them you might not otherwise know.  Crossing cultural boundaries has a way of stripping masks and exposing, for better or worse, what's underneath.  It removes the familiarity element that cloaks so much of who we are.  Experiencing that within marriage has been an unbelievable gift.

Little roots of shared comradeship, learning a language together, experiencing near-death rickshaw rides, watching friends and family wave goodbye in airports. Those little roots are growing down deep. This is the man who is by my side for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health, near or far, this side of the globe or that one.  I'm functioning out of weakness a lot over here.  And that is a humbling and vulnerable place to be in any relationship.  In a marriage, it can build a wall or a bridge into deep places. I can hardly remember what life was like before this life together. That's a good thing. 

Here's to eight more years of growing in love with the man I'd marry all over again. I'm so glad he picked me!

Monday, October 5, 2015

hello, legs

Asher pulled himself up on the sofa for the first time today! He was sO happy about it.  I took a video to mark the occasion.

Um. If you dislike momma-baby-talk, you're gonna need to mute the volume.  I got just a little carried away in the excitement.  Now you know what I really sound like when I'm alone with this cutie.

I mean, who can maintain a cool voice when this kind of cuteness is around, right?! 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

as shoes for your feet

It's festival season in these parts. That means we're averaging one day out of school per week.  There are a lot of festivals.  I've been trying to prepare a bit for these days so that I can fill in some of the gaps in the boys' "spiritual" training.  Today we talked about The Armor found in Ephesians 6.  

To my wanna-be-warriors this is an exciting topic. We made paper shields and I threw "flaming darts" at them.  (Streamers taped on balls...we try not to throw flames in here unless we have to.) We did the old lemon juice on paper trick last week to help illustrate the reality of the unseen world.

As I was going through the passage last night in preparation, the shoes caught my heart. It says "and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the good news of peace."

I've been watching the news about the advancement of some dark forces into regions not that far away. Places where brothers and sisters in faith are under a threat so certain that every day they must feel they could be walking to their grave. It's stirring in me good questions. Drawing out natural fears in me. And reminding me that the Father gives grace to stand firm in situations where renouncing the name we bear is the only way out, apart from death itself.

These are not stories in a book of one of my heroes.  This is a drama playing out right now, in this world we live in. It will be at our doors sooner or later, or at the very least at our children's doors.

That kind of readiness can only be given by the good news of peace.  Those shoes can go anywhere and stand before anyone. Those shoes don't just offer peace to the places where we walk, the peace is there for the one walking.  The readiness of peace, promises that we bank on, an unseen world that we put confidence in - even if the world crashes in around us tomorrow. Which, quite frankly, seems rather likely of late.

He has given us everything we need.  Even these shoes for our feet. 


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Home foods

One of my favorite stories from South Asia is about a man who came to a language seminar with us. It was a small group and we were delving into grammar. If memory serves me correctly, I had a four year old and a two year old at the time. And the meeting room was my living room.

The plan, of course, was for the meals to be eaten at restaurants so that I could focus on grammar and not cooking. But generally speaking, South Asian men are very fussy about their food. When David announced the lunch plans, this particular man looked me straight in the eye and said, "Actually, I prefer home foods." 

This was a veiled yet strong way of saying, "A proper hostess would cook for me. Go get in that kitchen!"

Being the blunt American that I am, I looked him straight back and said, "Trust me when I tell you, you don't prefer my "home foods" today."

They promptly left for lunch. 

Since that day, the term "home foods" has become a recurring joke in our house. I use the phrase all the time with a lot of laughter....but to my neighbors, it's no joke. These people are serious about their food. Someone told me recently that they enjoyed their stay in the US but that her father in law was shocked by lack of attention American women give to the kitchen. It was his primary complaint against the culture. Homemade tomato soup or fresh spaghetti sauce and pasta are referenced in my neighborhood as "fast foods."  Burgers are expressly put in the junk food category. 

So this week I found it really entertaining when I told my friend I baked a bunch of sweets over the weekend. Hubs  and I ate way too many brownies and we were feeling lethargic. She proceeded to assure me that it was ok because they were homemade. I started cracking up and laughed that massive volumes of butter and sugar from my own kitchen are just as unhealthy as the ones in the bakery. She stood firm arguing that my butter had to be healthier than the ones they use "outside."  I concede she has a small point when it comes to preservatives, etc. But really?!

Home foods, friends. Go eat some home foods for me.