Monday, July 1, 2013

Stop for the One

I was all ready to write the post of a lifetime. I even did a little rough drafting this morning while being "Grandma" to Luci and Asher's baby papayas (I wish I had a photo or a camera crew filming my soon-to-be-pitched reality show). But we have put the kids in bed and all I can think of are reasons why my time would be better spent laying in bed watching a movie with Shawn. My eyes will be closed; I just took some all natural melatonin.

So here are the good and/or not good reasons why I'm procrastinating just a little bit more:

1. Judah started last night being tested for malaria (negative!) and was up every 30-40 minutes with sickness related needs.
2. When I wasn't up every 30-40 minutes I was in and out of a dream that involved a psychopath trying to frame me and Angelina Jolie for a murder. I was almost grateful to keep waking up so I could take a break from the dream. Plus, I expected Angelina to be better at figuring out how to save us.
3. We don't have water. I get less and less motivated when I can't wash my hands.
4. My blog site is all in Portuguese. Nao bom.
5. My feet are swollen.
6. I'm busy squishing the ants that invade every night.
7. Someone just stopped in for brownies.

Now it's really time to go. Until that melatonin kicks in...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Quickie

We made it back! It was a travel marathon so it felt good to finally arrive and be done herding kids through airports. We looked like a family of geese - Shawn leading the way and me in the back shooing the stragglers - mostly Asher who had to watch his awesome Superman backpack while he walked. We  had thought we would take the first week to get settled in and fight through jet-lag, but we got back just as the busy season is ramping up, so instead we hit the ground running. Shawn has already done an airport run and an orientation and we've made a long list of things to talk about at our staff meeting on Monday. Thank God we have a staff to have a meeting with; we couldn't do this without them!

Quick kid stories: As soon as we got out of the airport in Pemba (which is now housed in an white event tent as they are demolishing the old terminal and I'm assuming building a new one.) Luciana and Asher found a hole of dirt and had both laid in it and covered themselves in dirt before I had a chance to stop them.  I would have been faster, but my hands were full of Superman backpacks, 3 carry-on suitcases and a purse jam packed with Starbucks and baby wipes. And for Judah - he had been hesitant about coming back to Moz, but when I told him a new family moved into the house right behind ours and that they have 5 boys, he was excited to meet them. Our first morning back, Judah came into our room - bright and early already dressed - and asked if he could go play with the boys. It didn't take them long to organize the Olympics. I'm told Judah placed 2nd in gymnastics. 

I'm a little hesitant to say that this time will be easier/better than our first round, but there hasn't been water since we arrived and so far I haven't threatened to hurt myself or anyone else. I think I have an expanded capacity for what I can handle... I'd like to think that the ceiling I built from September to March is my floor for the next 6 months. Check back in in August when we haven't had water for 2 and 1/2 months and see how positive I sound then.

Anyway, I wanted to make sure I got in a quick post just to say we're safe and we're sweaty. In other words: perfect.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Not Much of an Update

Hey, who knew? I still have a blog. This is precisely why I don't have pets and have sent all of my house plants to live at my mom's and my sister's houses. It's any wonder all of my children are still alive and well fed... Mostly.

We are thisclose to going back to Moz. We had a perfect plan and then everyday it seemed that something, everything has intervened to mess up said plan. Seriously, it was a great plan: Spend five days reacquainting ourselves to the Western world where the milk flows like wine (Switzerland), snow-angel my way through Target in preparation to go to my sister's idyllic wedding in Mexico, followed by a fun road-trip to see more family and friends throughout the Midwest, and then pack it all up for another 6 months on the Edge of the Earth. Things were going according to plan right up until the "pack it all up" part. We were a little short of pocket change to foot the bill for plane tickets and there was this little business of Shawn getting amazing opportunity after amazing opportunity to get flight training. Our departure has been delayed indefinitely but with the real possibility that we might leave any given day.  Even in my unsettled life this is getting ridiculous. But, more details aside, it looks like we will finally be going back next week, and not a moment too soon as the CraZY busy season of Pemba is upon us and the Visitors' Center will be like Bethlehem circa 0 A.D.

Let's just say I'm glad I've been slowly gathering necessities with a pile of kitchen things (a new cookie sheet, a make-your-own popsicle mold, and bags of Starbucks coffee), toiletries (one can never have enough bubble gum flavored toothpaste), a small, but effective pharmacy (sooooo much hydrocortisone cream....), and another loaded with miscellaneous items (cribbage board, batteries, a fly swatter. Those flies are going to wish our visa applications had been denied.).  I am like one of the 10 virgins...who has a Red Card.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Um Momento, Por Favor (Just a Minute, Please)

I must appease the Blog Monster. I have great photos from Judah's birthday and an impressive video of Shawn's masterpiece of an entrance gate being erected by a team of Mozambicans, some visitors, and Shawn, but I pretty much blacked out after Shawn had been gone for 12 days stuck in South Africa and I was here taking care of 3 kids, running a Visitors' Center, and living in Moz. And then, just as I was about to come out of it, the phone rang and told Shawn to hop back on a plane. This time there's a pretty good chance he'll be back in 2 days, but I told him I would be leaving for America March 2 with or without him. Naturally, I sang that part because Bono and I could be best friends, but Shawn understood the gravity of the situation because I only sang it - I didn't dance expressively.

So, my offering tonight is a prize-winning photo from when Shawn was gone. Some of our friends and fellow volunteers took Judah & Luci to a birthday party so I could run man-to-man coverage with Asher. Apparently, a frosting fight broke out and, well, that's the only way to party, I guess.

Judah & Carlito post-frosting fight

Friday, February 1, 2013

Feliz Natal e Fim do Ano e Mais. Claro. (Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and More. Of Course.)

Here's a merry montage. Some photo credit goes to a recent visitor, Paul Smith, who downloaded all his photos on to the Hospitality computer. Obrigada.

Action shot of Christmas lunch preparation for 6,000 people.

We ushered in groups of kids about 30 at a time to get Christmas lunch.  Always on the edge of chaos :)

When they were done, they were supposed to dip their thumb in ginseng-violet so we knww who had eaten and who hadn't. Some kids were more purple than others and a couple lovely Norwegians who were manning that post had completely purple hands. I told them they were lucky to be going back to where it was winter and they could wear mittens until the purple wore off.

That, there, is a construction paper tree with seashell decorations and LED camping lights.

So far, so good!

We had the most wonderful group of South Africans staying with us over the holidays and they (including American photographer and chef extraordinaire, Paul Smith) invited us to join them for the best New Year's breakfast ever. Party Animal Asher is sucking down some Coke before I can stop him.

What a cute couple! Asher is sharing his Happy New Year melted ice cream with Mario who works with us in the Visitors' Center. If you happen to find yourself in Pemba come get dance lessons from Mario - that boy can move!

If you are facebook friends with Shawn, you've already seen this instant classic.  But I had to share it here, too. This is Raposo who also works with us in the Visitors' Center. For his birthday we helped him get his motorcycle license and when his photo came back instead of seeing the t-shirt he was photographed in they had put him in a suit with Photoshop. We call him President Raposo now.

Asher playing at the park by the Toddler House.

Luci got Princess outfits from Grandma for Christmas. She and Natalia spent the better part of an afternoon playing dress-up.

At first glance, this looks like a fun playground, but take a closer look at at that yellow slide.  Safety first, kids!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Mais e Mais (More and Even More)

In keeping with my theme of random photos this next collection is extra random, but includes a couple of my favorites.

Koo noun/verb/adverb/adjective  \'ku\: The best you can do.
This all-purpose word is generally used with great irony and as the answer to any question having to do with life Mozambique. As in, "The rice & beans taste funny. Why?" Koo.  "What are all these red bumps from?" Koo. "How come it smells like an electrical fire every time I shower?" Koo. "Why does it take 4 months to get a vehicle fixed?" Koo. "Why is Asher wearing only socks?" Trick question - there is no answer for that.
You know that I tore that label off immediately and stuck it right our fridge.
This is why we filter our water.

This was our first rain day. Naturally, that calls for shovels, a trench, and 3 kids trying to pad their resumes with Water Management skills.

This is Rosie (the tiny gray and white kitten in the middle of the green bucket). The short story is, Rosie was abandoned, but the look on Luci's face tells you Rosie has a found a home. Not long after Rosie came into our lives, Luciana announced that she could speak Cat. "When Daddy holds Rosie, she says 'No thank-you.'  But when I hold Rosie she says, 'You're my mom. You're my mom.'" I can't argue with her; I don't speak Cat.

One night, Judah was having a hard time falling asleep so I gave him my phone to have music playing to help him sleep. In the morning he showed me what else he used the phone for. FYI Rasos refers to Russell's, a cafe we occasionally go to.

A more detailed description of what I should accomplish on Judah's birthday.

Now that it's rainy season we've had a chance to find out where the roof leaks. One of the biggest leaks was right above Judah's bed. Shawn fixed that.
We are happy to be in our new house - one that is not literally falling apart - and we installed an AC unit lovingly and graciously given to us by our friends who have moved on to help rescue people trapped in the sex trafficking industry in Costa Rica. I say, "Good luck and thank you!" But, in order to keep Al Gore from personally coming to our house and making us write "We will not use energy in such an offensive and irresponsible manner thereby contributing to a massive waste of resources and life-threatening climate change." 100 times, Shawn installed windows. Also, please note the fancy shelves in the background. Those shelves are courtesy of the salvaged pieces from the screen door on our other house. Since we don't have any decorations to speak of, Shawn was putting the produce he had just bought on the shelves. We have found a few yummy ways to use that pumpkin.
It's rainy season and Judah wanted a rain coat. So he made one.  See what I'm saying - Koo.
Luciana was playing with her friends who live in the neighborhood next to the base, Zaina and Alima, and they helped her carry their bear local-style.
Judah and Luci built a fort. Asher was napping so that's why it was designated as "4+."

Monday, December 10, 2012

O Melhor Segunda Feira do Tudos (Best Monday Ever)

This post is so belated, but, I tell you what, with the temperamental internet access, unreliable electricity, new and non-stop responsibilities, and all around tiredness I've given myself a pass. A pass to watch Downton Abbey. But, Shawn is in South Africa for the next few days and I am under STRICT instructions not to watch without him so now I can do something productive with my time. And it's time Grandmas get a glimpse of the grandkids - an early Christmas present :)

Let me start with what was the best day of our lives up to that point. We have since had a couple more AMAZING days, but you never forget your first, and I keep forgetting to have my camera around to take pictures. 

Shawn dropped off this box and then immediately had to run an errand. He asked us to wait for him to get back until we opened it and since it was from him mom I thought I better. Never in my life have I used so much self-control.
Please note Asher's sweet excitement :) That box was filled with oatmeal and toys and love and Starbuck Via and candy and love and a new dress and homemade black raspberry jam and love.
Luciana thoroughly enjoying the pancakes that came from Grandma.
Homemade black raspberry jam!!!!!
They are hard at work coloring in their special coloring books.

And, of course, a couple random unrelated pictures. But, when the bandwidth is there to upload, I upload.

This is just a screen shot of my average wake-up time. It's usually Asher crawling in bed announcing, "Not dark. Eat bread." The picture in from last year in Moz - the kids are on Wimbi Beach just across the road from us.
Spaghetti has become a staple dinner around here. The pasta is cheap and we make our own sauce with tomato paste, green peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes.  I'm probably going to start a food blog next because I have so many awesome recipes.
Something else I make about once a week is chicken. Here Luci is cleaning the carcass.  Oh, my.