February 25, 2012

Over the River Mountain and through theWoods Great Plains...

... to Grandmother's the families' house we go went.

Our first-ever road trip to Michigan as a family of three!  We left on Saturday night around O's bed time so he would sleep during the 13 hour drive, and it worked, for the most part.  Except the 13 hour drive turned into a 15 hour drive.  Because of a rockslide.  I'm not joking, there was one in Tennessee and the detour was on a hairpin-turns-through-the-back-country-woods-mountainous-skinny-two-lane-road AND there was dense fog.  Lovely.  We were literally going 20mph for a good two hours to get trough those mountains.  And we were literally turning a little green with all the switchbacks and swerves we were having to make.  But what's a road trip without a little adventure? :)  Owen did great through the whole ride, though he did wake up around 2am and was up for a couple hours.  I suspect it's because he wasn't comfortable, especially since he's normally a side sleeper.
He woke up for the day around 6:30 or 7:00am so we pulled into a rest area to take a potty break and change his diaper and let him get out of the car seat and stretch, and learn how to drive.
We also got to watch the sun come up over the frosty fields of Indiana.
It was downright freeeeezing.
A little farther into Indiana we saw the first snow we'd seen the whole trip!
And it was the last snow we saw all trip.  Yup.  The third time we've been to Michigan since moving to NC (second time during winter) and we've yet to see any 'real' snow!  

Around 10:00 we finally pulled into our destination!  We were staying with my cousin (well, she's actually my 2nd cousin, but we were really close growing up and I lived with her during college so it doesn't feel like she's my 2nd cousin.. anyway) and her kids (who were so little) last time I saw them!  Were SO excited to meet Owen!  She had just had a sleep-over the night before, so her friend was there too and they snagged him up right away!
He didn't mind :)
After some play time we got dressed and went to church!  We were just in time for the 11:00 service at our former church Res Life, which is now (and has been for a while) called Radiant.  It was neat to go back there again and it was great to hear Pastor Lee preach again.  Owen did great in kids church, despite having been on the road for 15 hours just moments before.  After church we laid low all day.  Bill & I didn't get much sleep at all and by that point taking a nap would have done more damage, so we just relaxed, unpacked and grabbed some groceries we'd need for the week.  We also enjoyed some amazing home cooking a'la my cousin and learned how to play Mexican Train Dominoes. 

We decided to try and keep our morning routine as close as we could to our home routine so Owen could adjust, so we made breakfast, lounged around and let him take his morning nap from 10-12 as usual.  He did great sleeping in his little Pea Pod for the first time.  I was very proud of him because we hadn't tried him sleeping in it before the trip, in fact, the Michigan trip was kind of a trial for our Africa trip, which is why we got it in the first place.  Anyway, after his nap we headed to the Bradford's (my side of the family)!
He was very excited to meet Buddy.
:)  And of course he was excited to meet his grandpa, and aunt Karisa and uncle Travis and grandma Laura too!

My little siblings (well, two of them, one of them didn't make it this day) Travis, 18, at least a head taller than me, and Karisa, 10, almost as tall as me. :)  Then David, 30(something, I think) with his 2nd little one, just a few months old.

He also got to meet his Great Grandma & Grandpa Ely, his Uncle Garry, Uncle Rick, Aunt Laurie.
After meeting all those people he was tired by the time we got back 'home'... but the kids had waited up (literally looking out the window) for him so we let them snuggle for a little while right before bed. :)
And that was day 1 and 2 of our Michigan trip!
Stay tuned for more... for now, little man is up from his nap and I must go kiss his cheeks!! 

February 22, 2012

Before I Forget...

I know, I know, I still need to post about our Michigan trip, but before I forget, I had to post these updates about our little Owen -
-He knows the 'more' sign now and can do it when eating!  YAY for communication!  He also says 'duh duh duh' for 'drink'.
-When washing his face after eating (which he hates) I've been using the washcloth and making him do the motorboat sound with his lips - so now he tries to do it with his hands occasionaly and he usually does it, and then gets all excited that he does it.
- I taught him how to fist-bump the other day, and now he asks for them and particularly likes it when you 'blow it up'. :)
- He is crawling faster than the speed of light and I love listening to the pitter-patter of his hands and knees as he races across the floor

- He can move himself on his little Radio Flyer Rocket - not very much at a time, but he's getting there!

- He's transitioning between the coffee table and couch, the window and the couch and furniture and us... walking is coming right around the corner I think!

Isn't it Still February?

So why on Earth has McDonalds already brought out the Shamrock shake?  Hmm... weird.  Anyway, it made me think of this version of the Shamrock shake... much better for you, with all the chocolately-mint taste you can handle!
1 1/2 Cups of ice (pre-crushed helps)
1/2 cup of water
Hefty handful (or about 1 1/2 cups) of fresh (uncooked) spinach leaves
1 Avocado
2 tbsp. sugar (or stevia to make it even more healthy)
1/2 cup of chocolate chips (or carob chips to make it even healthier)
Dash (maybe 1/4 tsp) of peppermint oil (to taste)

Put it in a blender and viola! Really, it is delish!  I can't stand avocado in any form, and you can't taste it at all in this shake!  When I was pregnant I even used it as a mini 'meal' in between meals, hubby got addicted and we make one about once a week now!

February 19, 2012

Africa ... in t-minus 109 days! AHHHH!

So we are back safe and sound from the frozen tundra that was the Mid-west.  We were slightly disappointed to not see any (substantial) snow, but it was frigid enough (mid 20's at times) to remind us that yes, indeed, our blood has thinned after living in the south for almost 6 years. :)  We had a great time visiting family and friends and Owen just loved being loved on and played with so much!  I was even able to sneak in a photo session to add some funds to our trip goal! (pictures and detailed posts about our trip coming soon!)
Speaking of our trip... I can't believe we only have 109 days left until we leave! Ah!  It's coming up sooo fast!  Right before we left for Michigan we went to the travel clinic to prepare and found out there are no required vaccines to go to Tanzania!  We were sure Yellow Fever was a requirement, but turns out they haven't had any cases of that in over 40 years so it's not!  We were SO excited, especially after reading of the possible side effects that one has, like multiple organ system failure -yikes!  The Doc. wrote our scripts for the Malaria meds, plus a couple more for anti-diarrhea and nausea as a precaution. Details are also starting to come together for the outreach events we'll be doing while we're there, and we will be purchasing our tickets within the next few weeks as well! 
Fundraising for the trip got off to a great start, but has been slowing down a bit.  We've been able to pay for about 1/2 of our expenses for the trip, leaving us with about $3600 left to raise by mid-April.  To help us get to our goal, we are still doing some babysitting nights (CLT locals, spread the word! Feb. 24th in Charlotte, Feb. 25th in Concord from 6pm-9pm, check out our FB page for more info!), we're also having a yard sale in mid-March, and we hope to do a dinner in March as well as a raffle.  I'm still seeking sponsorships from small-(or large) business owners as well. (Is that YOU?  Or do you know someone that owns their business? Sponsor us and get your name/logo on our team shirts - locals, or out of state, it's open to everyone and any business! Email me for more info!) Of course, we're still relying on the support letters we sent out in January as well, and my photo sessions too!
The latest and greatest thing on the fundraising radar though, is our coffee fundraiser!  We've partnered with 963 Coffee and are selling 1lb. bags of organic, fair trade coffee (whole-bean or ground) that comes from places like Africa and South America, FRESH to your door!  They don't even roast the beans until the order has been placed!  If you aren't too keen on coffee, there's cocoa too - from Ghana (of all places!)  The coffee/cocoa comes from farms around the world and a percentage of the sale goes toward making sure the farmers get a fair wage to put their kids through school and put food on the table. For every $12 bag of coffee that is purchased through THIS link: http://www.963coffee.com/c-1-963-coffee.aspx?affiliateID10438(or the picture at the top of our page) $4 will get put toward our Africa fund!  If you're a coffee addict (you know who you are, it's okay to admit it) you can sign up for the "Monthly Obsession" and get a fresh 1-pound bag delivered straight to you each month, and we still continue to get $4 per bag, even after our trip (we'll be saving up again after this trip for the next one!) Charlotte Locals if you would like to order, but don't want to pay shipping - I'll be placing a bulk order on February 25th - so e-mail me your order, or put it in the comments and I'll put it in for ya!
If you're not a coffee drinker, and would still like to help us meet our goal, your tax-deductible gift can be made out to Benham Foundation and sent to 8612 Oak Drive NE, Charlotte, NC 28269.  We appreciate any and all help we can get meeting our goal - big or small- it all helps!
We'd also love if you'd continue to stand beside us in prayer.  This month we are focusing on: praying for our relationships (with each other, and with God) that they will strengthen and that the Enemy will not be able to break us down; prayer that we won't let doubt creep in, but that we will continue to trust solely in God and stand firm on the promises He's made to us; prayer for miraculous gifts and generosity to pour in and prayer for favor as we purchase the tickets so that we can get a great price on them!
Lastly, if you know of anyone that is not on this list and would like to be, feel free to send me their e-mail and I'll add them in on the updates.  We need all the exposure we can get - we love raising awareness of what's going on in Africa and all that can be done to help!
Thank you so much for taking the time to stay connected with the vision we have for our family, if there's anything that we can be praying with you about, please let us know!  We'd love to support you/your family in prayer just as you're supporting us.
Until Next Time -
Amanda, Bill & Owen

February 12, 2012


Little Owen has been crawlin' around like it's nobody's business these days, and he's discovering all the goodness of curiosity along with it.  Like:

How to open the video cabinet on the entertainment center (which is now child-locked)


How to stand up on the stairs (which is now gated off)


How to pull himself up on the windowsill.

How to move around the stools in the kitchen (though I've yet to capture that, cause it just happened today)

He's also learned a couple new tricks,

How to clap his hands (whenever you say YAY! or when someone else claps)

How to give kisses! Again, haven't captured that , just started today, plus I (mayormaynot) get all melty when he does it and be unable to see through the lens...   :)

Okay, that's all for now.  I'm pretty sure that's the max amount of adorable-ness allowed for one post.  Hehehehe :)