December 23, 2014

Not Quite Yet

The outpouring of love and support we've received via email, text, facebook and in person from the community here in Moshi has been absolutely overwhelming.  We've heard from people we haven't talked to in months, even years, as they offer encouragement, love and prayers.
The community here has blown us away with their love and kindness. 

December 21, 2014

Christmas isn't Merry for Everyone

Being outside of one's passport country during the holidays can be rough.
Sure this is home to us, we love Tanzania, we love the community here in Moshi. But it's just something about the Christmas holidays that brings on a bit of a dark cloud of depression. Part of it is being away from our family back in the states. But part of it is that there's no chill in the air when you step outside, there are no mini marshmallows to top your hot chocolate with, there are no real Christmas trees anywhere, no sparkling lights adorning homes and twinkling in the night as you drive through the neighborhood, not a snowflake to be seen, minus the few left on top of Kilimanjaro.  It just doesn't feel like Christmas.

December 05, 2014

De ja Vu // Alternately Titled: TIA (This Is Africa)

Thanksgiving Day - November 25th, 2014
We pack up and hop in the car headed for Arusha, again.  It's not a holiday here, and it's been two weeks since our last appointment.  Have I mentioned how much I dislike going there?  The drive is so exhausting.  It's a good 2 hours on paved roads, but every 10 minutes you go through a village and have to slow down for a) massive speedbumps b)goats/cows/chickens crossing the road c)dala dalas (vans/busses) slowing and pulling over or pulling out in front of you d) people walking all over the road as if it's a sidewalk e)police checkpoints.  It's enough to drive anyone batty.

Ignorance {was} Bliss

Two weeks. 14 days. That’s how pregnant I was when I started having symptoms. Which led me to believe I was at least 4 weeks along, if not closer to 6 weeks.

November 13th, 2014

We made the trek to Arusha again to see the OB. She asked why we were there. Facepalm.
Because when I called and tried to talk to you about the results of the blood test the receptionist said to just come. So we came.
We did an ultrasound, and saw our little lentil that day. According to the measurements on the fuzzy ultrasound we were 6 weeks 4 days pregnant.
Torture. Torture I tell you. I was thinking I was closer to 8 weeks.

December 02, 2014

And So It Begins

The nausea.

November 3, 2014

I remember it clearly with Owen too - I never actually tossed my cookies, but man OH man was I ever nauseated by any-, and nearly everything.  I remember walking down the food aisles at Target and getting sick to my stomach, literally having to turn my eyes away from the boxes of food.  It's not even like it was raw meat or sushi or something - I'm talking boxes of Mac & Cheese, cans of soup.  Just looking at them make me indescribably nauseated.

And now it begins with this one.

November 03, 2014

A Lot About Nothing.

October 24th, 2014
I unlocked the door to the storage room of some friends of ours that are on furlough.  I'd been given permission to rifle through a tote full of bathroom supplies in search of One Tiny Object.  After finding such object, and closing the window that had been left open accidentally, while avoiding a gecko jumping out at my face, I locked the door back up and drove the bumpy roads back down the street and around the corner to home.

Immediately I took that One Tiny Object and went to the toilet.

October 20, 2014

Speaking of Babies...

Sometimes I just wanna throw myself on my bed and cry like one.  Like yesterday.  And yesterday I figured I would want to today as well, just knowing what was ahead.

October 10, 2014

On Pregnancy

This is not, I repeat, this is NOT an announcement. 
Just so we're clear.

A good handful of the missionaries here have been 'drinking the water' and been with child lately.  Owen's friends Yael and Samuel have been away in Germany while their mom had a new baby brother, his friends Jillian & Acacia just left with their mom to go back to the states and have a new baby, and his good friend Promise will be leaving next week so her mom can give birth to her baby brother.  Naturally, this has been a topic of conversation lately.  And as usual, his conversations are quite interesting so I wanted to take a minute to record them for your viewing pleasure :)

About two weeks ago, while he was on the toilet. "Mama?  Do you have a baby in your beh-yee?"

September 29, 2014

In Which Our Family Was Falling Apart

A little background:  last year Bill taught preschool at Hope to fill a need, and since I was already teaching Jr. High full time, Owen (2years old) ended up just going to the 2/3year old class with Bill for preschool every day.  It was a rough transition, and never would I even consider putting my two year old in preschool in the States - but after about a week he was thriving and loving school.  Everyday he & Bill went home at noon for lunch and Owen would get his nap.  School only lasted a half-day anyway for preschool so it worked out great.  We were happy to serve, it's what we were here for.  Bill ended up falling in love with teaching the littles and it was going great.  Owen was thriving and learning loads of new things, making lots of friends and loving every minute of school.  He even refused to go to kids church back in the States over furlough because "Ms. Dorothy (Bill's co-teacher) was his favorite teacher."

September 22, 2014

Just One More... Minute

The final 'week in the life' post through photos  - Sunday

Sunday morning started very much like Saturday: a smattering of sleep-in cuddles, then a request by the bear for more waffles.
He mixed, I poured, he flipped the griddle.  The kid loves waffles.

After a tasty breakfast we headed to church.
I promise I didn't stage this.  I was literally just trying my darndest to take a photo without anyone noticing :)

September 20, 2014

Spend a Minute with Me on Saturday

Day 6 in the 'week in the life' through photos: Saturday

Saturdays are usually my favorite.  Sleeping in.  Lots of time with the bear, which is what I'm longing for by the end of a busy week of school.  Started the morning with lots of cuddles from my bear in bed while hubby prepped the waffle batter.... then it was off to the kitchen with my little sioux chef.
The kid loves waffles, and he loves making them.  I let him open and close the thing and flip it over too.  He thinks it's the coolest thing ever.  I decided to whip up some fresh raspberry compote for it and hubby had a pot of coffee ready.  Best. Breakfast.  And sharing it with this cutie was the best part.

September 19, 2014

Walk a Minute with Me // Friday

Day 5 in my 'week-in-the-life' through photos series.

Started out my morning at school gettin' friendly with this guy.
I'm so thankful we have it.  It's the only one we have, and it (of course) only works when the power on, but I'm so thankful for it.  Last year a couple times, but one time in particular, it was out for repairs on a friday.  I had to hand-write all my tests on the chalkboards for my class.  In elementary, that wouldn't be bad.  But it was Jr. High science.  Took me

Walked back into my room to see this:
This kid.  Such a smartie.  And pretty darn adorable too.

Got to work on some planning while Air Jordan there worked on his dunking skills.
I love my planner.  Searched high and low for it while in the states - who knew teacher planners (like actual teaching ones) were so flippin expensive?!  Like $30 and more for one!  So I opted for a typical planner, but I have a very specific way I like to write out my plans so I had to find one that had Monday - Sunday going across the pages, rather than down or in a boxy calendar format.  Found this at Target like two days before our departure.

Fridays are Homework Due Days.  I try to not micromanage my kids.  I give them their assignments all at once and say, turn them in on Friday.  They know each week they have 3 spelling activities, 3 vocab activities and a reading log due on Friday for me.  But man was a spoiled last year with only 3 sets of homework to grade.  Now I have nearly 30.  o.O
And those are just the homework books.  Fridays are also test days.  Spelling tests for sure every week, and sometimes vocab and/or grammar tests too.  Whew.  Makes me think back to my days teaching public school in the states with 26 kids.

Took O home for nap after lunch...
Annnnnddd... this is me also choosing a nap. It's been a long week.

After we got up from our naps we ran back to school to pick up the teachers, then it was home and time to start dinner.
Burgers, chips and green beans with balsamic and parmesean (and pizza leftovers for O since he doesn't like burgers).
It was delish, and easy.  Which made it even better.

We spent the evening taking care of laundry, cleaning the kitchen, sweeping the house and playing with O.  And now I sit here, in pants and a blanket still cold and contemplating hot chocolate before I start a movie with my love...

...Until tomorrow! :)

September 18, 2014

Trudge Through Thursday a Minute with Me

Day 4 of my week-in-the-life challenge: Thursday

Thursdays are rough.  They follow worship night which means we all wake up having not had enough sleep.  Then, with not enough sleep, Owen has to go to school for the full day, and Bill & I teach the full day.  Owen rarely naps at school, though they are made to lay down for an hour or so, which makes for an even longer afternoon/evening for us at home.  But let me stop complaining and get on with the post.

Oh and also - WHY is September almost over already?!  Sheesh.

September 17, 2014

Worship a Minute with Me

Day three of my 'week in the life' photo posts: Wednesday.
Wore this maxi again today.  Ordered it off b/c of the color, without realizing how incredibly thick the cotton is.  Love it, but it typically is just. too. hot. to wear it here.  I think I only wore it once all of last year.  But this year it's been uncanny amounts of cold, I think it's the 3rd or 4th time I've worn it - today with a jacket!

I take an odd sense of joy watching my homeroom kids complete the team building challenges I give them. Muahahaha...

September 16, 2014

Walk A Minute with Me // Tuesday

Started off the morning tying my homeroom in knots.  We played the human knot game, good team building time. 

September 15, 2014

Hit the Snooze with Me a Minute

Day 2 of my week in photos: Monday

I kind of hate mornings.  I am a snooze-button-hitter.  And most days of the week the bed just doesn't get made. It's about to get real up in here.  FYI.
Yes our walls are lime green.  Nope.  Don't know why, Don't like it.  Hope to get it painted in the next month or so.

Confession #1: We aren't morning people.  In case you didn't get that already.  We get up approximately 45-30 minutes before we have to be in the car leaving.  Sometimes we just take our egg and toast breakfast with us.  The bear is usually stellar about taking care of his plate and things, but this morning, we were all still tired and so there it sat until our return home from school. 

September 14, 2014

Walk a Minute With Me

My Week in (iPhone) Photos: Day 1 - Sunday

Owen got a play date with this sweet girl while her mom & Bill made an airport run early this morning.  She appeared at our gate, getting dropped by her momma as I was cleaning the kitchen in the quiet of toddler-still-sleeping house.  He RAN out of his bedroom giddy with excitement when he found out she was here.  They shared some oatmeal then traipsed off to the playroom to get into the toys.
I, on the other hand... did this:

September 04, 2014

{Random} Conversations with our 3 year old Missionary Kid

O: Today in cyass (class) I told Miss. Me-yinda 'acha' {putting his hand forward like a stop sign}  I tode her 'acha' means stop.
Me: You did?  Why'd you tell her that?
O: Because the other boy wasn't making good choices. And he didn't know English.

O: Foos (who's) gonna yive (live) in Miss Vickie's house when she's gone?
Me: No one, she's gonna lock it all up.  She'll be back in a few months.
O: Momma!  How's she EVER gonna get back IN?!

September 01, 2014

First Day of School

I can't help but think of that scene in Finding Nemo:
That's not {quite} how it went in our house this morning... but I thought I'd share how the first day went... at least for me: a Jr. High-Homeroom-slash-Language-Arts-2nd-through-8th-grade-teaching-volunteer-as-a-missionary-in-Tanzania-and-momma-to-a-preschooler.

We arrived on campus at Hope International at 8:00am on the dot.  I walked to my classroom,  saying hi to students along the way.  Stopping to give my former (and also current, actually) student a hug.  She told me she couldn't stay, that she was sick and going to the hospital.  Sure enough, she had a rash all over and was shaking.  Poor thing.  I wished her well and gave her a hug goodbye - she'd come to school and waited for me to arrive to tell me she couldn't be there today.

August 09, 2014

#missionarylife // a 3 year old's view

It never ceases to amaze me the grace with which our three year old handles the missionary life we lead.  The kid is just a little bit over three and has been on (literally) 29 different airplanes.

August 05, 2014

Answered Prayers

It's been ages.  I apologize.  But ohmygosh I had no idea how fast life would become after hitting the tarmac at Charlotte Douglas International.

So here's a quick recap - remember our list?
Here are just a few (amazing) ways we've been checking it off.

Rest & Refreshment - 
Phoenix for 2 months + a pool in the backyard.  'nuff said.  :)

July 07, 2014

This Post Has Not Yet Been Rated

The following are random things I don't want to forget, but they may be a little.... erm.... vivid for some readers.  Especially non-parents.  Just consider this fair warning.

So we've lived in Tanzania, East Africa for the past year and our son refused to pee in the bush.

July 02, 2014

A Waitress Named Holly

We had been driving for over 6 hours.  It was about 7:30.  We hadn't had an actual meal since the night before, and that was Disney Land food - soup in a bread bowl for me and a box of chinese for hubby.
We pulled off at the only exit with food that we'd seen in miles and our choices were Logan's Steakhouse (too $$), Mimi's Cafe (not good dinner food and $$) and Olive Garden.  So we went with Olive Garden.  We sat down and started trying to finagle the menu to feed the three of us for $25 or less.  It was grueling.  Honestly.  We went back and forth over several different combinations of options, remarking under our breaths at how the prices had gone up since our last visit over a year ago.
After (what seemed like) an hour Owen & Bill went for a walk to get O's energy out (riding in a carseat for 6 hours, remember?) and the waitress walks over.  She'd been extremely patient with my "one more minute..."  "um... just a couple more minutes" requests and this time she says, "Wow, you were taking so long they left, huh?!" with a little laugh.
"No," I replied with a smile, "We've been in the car for the past 6 hours and the little one needed to run around a bit."
She asked where we were headed/coming from and I told her we'd just been to Disney and were heading back to Phoenix.
She asked if we were from there and I told her that no, we were from North Carolina.
She asked, "Oh, you were born in North Carolina?! What brings you to Phoenix?"
"It's kind of a long story," I replied, having no idea how to condense what our lives were into a few short sentences.

June 18, 2014

Pen + Prayer

I've believed in the power of prayer for most of my adult life, but it's only recently that I'm realizing the power that can be released when a pen is added to the equation.
Let me back up...    

When we learned we had to leave our home in Tanzania earlier than originally expected, I resolved (in my head) to write down a list of 'needs' and a list of 'wants' - goals for our trip that we'd pray over.  Well, one thing after another kept happening, and between traveling, jet lag, moving houses only a couple days after landing, the surgery/procedures, it got a little crazy.  It seemed every spare 'adult' moment we had we spent

June 08, 2014

Some Random Things

I still (after being here nearly a month) can't get over how:
The food (in stores) is more expensive and in much smaller packages than it was when we left, but the (majority) of people (in stores) are still getting larger. Hm.

I love the way Owen says, "Foo's" for "Who's"

When Owen was a baby he used to purse his lips together and blow a raspberry whenever he got hurt. Now, he calmly says, "hurt, Hurt, HURT, HURRRRT" in a progressively louder voice until it reflects the amount of pain he's in. He rarely cries, unless he's been embarrassed or is really, really hurt.

I miss not having to worry about ingredients in food.

June 02, 2014

Our Son Loves McDonalad's

Yes, you read that correctly.  Today we took our three year old to McDonald's for the first time.  Ever.  He loved it.  What kid wouldn't, right?
He climbed, he played, he slid down the slide, he bounced in the little sphere thing, and about ten minutes later came out, walked over to us and said:
"Hey! Momma!  I think there's a restaurant here, did you know that?!"

May 13, 2014


On our first furlough in the States since our move to Tanzania, I've been making several observations.  Some call it reverse culture shock - and I suppose that's what this is to some extent, but I'm not really all that shocked.  I knew from past re-entries that we would experience these things, but I guess that being away for nearly 10 months heightens the response?  Who knows, in any event, here are some observations:

1) Consumerism/Commercialism.
Wow.  That's all the words I can come up with right now.  It seriously wears us out when we shop.  We were in Target for 20 minutes yesterday and it felt like we were there for two hours.

2) Noise.
So. Much. Noise.  Noises we didn't even realize we ourselves were living with only 10 months ago.  Every time the air conditioning kicks on Owen covers his ears for just a moment and gets startled.

May 03, 2014

Satan Sells Pepsi

I think that Satan must work for Pepsi
because as far as I can tell
he's the one
feeding me these

from the depths of hell

April 10, 2014

Going to the Chapel and We're….

{almost} invited to a Tanzanian wedding.
Let me back up.

My friend and colleague, Holly, and I made a trip to the post office the other day.  I had a slip saying a package was here (YAY!) and she had some cards to post.  Our buddy Mike was working, as usual and we said our 'mambo's and 'poi's then he was off to get things taken care of.  Meanwhile Mr. Shine - the branch manager, and another pal of ours, walked by waving.
"OH!  You two, I have something special for you!  Take care of this then I will get it for you."
"Okay, we're finished," Holly replied.
Mr. Shine walks us over to the customs counter and hands us over two white envelopes.  Pulling out what appears to be a wedding invitation.
"Mike is getting married!" he says.
"AHhhhHHh! MIiiiikkkeeee!"  We exclaim, "Congratulations!!"
"When are you getting married?" we ask.
"May 31" he replies, sheepishly grinning.
"Here, these for you. Write your name here," Mr. Shine instructs us.  So Holly writes our names on the envelopes, then Mr. Shine copies them onto the actual invitation. Then he points out the location of the wedding, as listed on the invite and tells us we should come. "I'm the coordinator for the wedding," he says.
"Oh we will come! It will be so fun," we say.  We naive wazungus.

April 07, 2014

"Hey God"

Upon realizing I wasn't feeling well at all, our two year old, sitting beside me on the bed, looks at his papa and asks, "Papa, can you pray for momma cause she doesn't feel very good."
"Of course," he replies, "do you want to pray too?"
"Yea. I hold this hand so you can hold the other one."

April 05, 2014

Saturdays {sometimes} Look Like


Relaxing for an episode of Curious George while Momma makes breakfast.
With his Curious George friend, of course. 

March 26, 2014

The One in Which I Go to the Clinic

After four days of kidney pain, I decide it's time for my first trip to the clinic.
A friend comes to get me from school and we arrive at the clinic around 11:15.
I go to the reception and ask to create a file, she flips through a stack of ripped cardboard 'cards' about the size of a post-it note.  Hands me one with the number 28 and asks me to sit.  
We spot a bench in the back, with just enough space for the two of us to sit and wait.  In front of us are four rows of seats, various sizes and types, with about 5-6 chairs in each row.  Each one filled.  Adjacent to us it's the same picture, creating two groups of chairs with an aisle between.  Behind us, through the wall we lean on are the offices of two doctors.  In front of us is a third doctor's office, the reception, which is right next to the dawa (pharmacy) which is a glassed-in room about 6sq. feet.  
To my left there are windows and a porch where there are more seats, also all filled with people waiting to see the doctor.  We are the only two wazungus in sight.


You, our little bear, bring us more joy than we could have ever imagined, or even hoped for.
Each minute spent with you reveals more of the character God has placed in you.  At the sweet, young age of two and a half we are astounded at the little boy you are already becoming and we simply must document it!

We see your love language developing daily - acts of service and gift giving are your dominant ones right now.
Your endless requests to help us are so sweet and endearing.  "Momma, I help Norwex!"  "Papa, can I mop?"  "Momma, I'm sweeping leaves right now.  I'm not done yet. When I'm done I'll come eat dinner." "Papa, can I help with laundry?"  "Papa, I go get the gate with you." "Momma you need a blanket? I get it."

March 14, 2014

In Which I Want One… or Seven {but not just yet}

Last week we were headed out of town on a Teacher Excursion with plans to eat at nice restaurants, do some cultural history stuff and some shopping.  On the way out of town Bill prayed over our trip for safety, favor and that 'if there [was] an opportunity for us to minister, let us minister."
On the way home we sporadically (or not?) visited a baby home about 45 minutes away from our house.  We walked in right around dinner time. (Please pardon image (lack of) quality - armed with only my phone so I could get my hands on the littles and play! (:  )

March 04, 2014

In Which I Didn't Think I'd Become a Vegetarian

If it has a face, I won't eat it.

No.  Literally.  I was at a wedding a couple months ago, a Tanzanian marrying an American.  As I walked through the buffet line I saw two beady eyes peering at me from around the corner.  They were laying on the table.  It's mouth was half open, frozen.  And there was nothing left of it beyond his neck.  It was Virgil's cousin.  His body was in the large bubbling pot sitting in front of me - stew.  And he was laying there in wait for the presentation of the cake - Goat Cake.  The most prized portion of the goat, and it's eaten. All of it.

No, but really.  It is.

But that's not why we're vegetarians (though that doesn't hurt my case, I'll admit).  I find myself cooking/eating meat, maybe, maybe once a week.  Though it's typically less often than that.  Meat here… well, let me re-phrase that: Quality meat here, is hard to find, and when you do it's not cheap.  Plus it's just easier to go without.  Don't get me wrong, I've bought a slab of beef from the market a time or two, and I get the occasional chicken warm off the butcher block (not even kidding), but more often than not, we opt to skip the meat.

January 20, 2014

When I No Longer Live in Africa...

… I want to remember these moments… I'll probably look back at this and smile, but for right now, TIA is my motto.  (This Is Africa)

So here it goes:

January 09, 2014

US. {As in the three of us. Not the United States.}

As I lay on our not-quite-soft bed in our new-to-us home last night, trying to think of a blog to write, I came up short.  I know I haven't written in far too long, and I felt the need to come back with a…..

A post that was amazing and stirred the hearts of whoever out there reads it.  But. We haven't done much 'ministry' the past few weeks.  Our lives have been consumed with… us.  Who wants to read a blog from some missionaries that haven't done anything worthy enough to call ministry?