Thursday, June 30, 2016

Brazil, Nerves, and Kiddos - Day 7

Hey!  I made it over the half way mark!!  7 days in, and 6 days to go.  Woot woot!  Both kids are still alive, and I feel quite accomplished.

To date, I have managed to be gluten-free for 7 days, and only had one cup of coffee (today) in the last 7 days.  My gluten experiment is only that: experimental.  I don't really expect anything to change, but my husband would appreciate me not subjecting him to my GF curiosity.  So, I'm experimenting while he's away.

At the hat store in Seaside

We just got home from a few wonderful days at the beach.  My mom and I took the kiddos to Seaside on Monday, and we just got home in time for nap this afternoon.  It was a great distraction, and fun for mom and I together.

I planned for everything, I thought.  The weather here was 81 degrees....  forgot to check the weather at the coast.  Low 60s? Yeah, My poor daughter didn't have any long pants, but the sweet thing didn't complain.  It wasn't cold specifically, but certainly not the bathing-suit and tank top weather I planned for.  Oops.  Lesson learned.

Learning about roasting marshmallows

Today, on the way home, we stayed awake the entire time and talked.  I learned that when Sissy gets big, she wants a horsey named "Stick Tree" which she will ride with a pink cowboy hat on the beach. This horse will be trained to lay down so she can get on it's back.  Jayce's horsey will be named "Ward".  Jayce doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up. This was said very thoughtfully and with all seriousness.  He is still figuring it out.  Oh, but they will both have cows named "Sailor Dog".

Jayce will buy sissy a house because hers is broken.  He seemed to think that his daddy would live too far away to help him come fix his own house, but I assured him that no matter where he lived, Daddy and I would be able to travel to his home.

Happily coating ourselves in sand

The kids also learned the word "emergency" and asked me to keep naming emergencies...  for their own amusement.  I ran out of emergencies, trying to keep the concept still 3-year-old appropriate.  We did define it, however, as something that needs help right away and won't get better by itself.  For example, someone hurt in a car crash = emergency.  A bumped toe?  Mama can give kisses and snuggles and it will get better by itself.

On the beach, we flew kites, dug in the sand, and ran as fast as our small legs could take us.  We met some very kind people.  Our (fantastic) hotel had a breakfast each morning.  Mom took the kids down to eat, and came back up each morning telling me how many people commented on how well behaved the kiddos were.

Princess and a goof-ball <3 

This morning, as we checked out, the hotel clerk wanted to pick my brain about my parenting strategies, ask more details about what mom had told her, and legitimately try to figure out what was different about my kiddos.  It was heartwarming, overwhelming, and I felt totally out of my depth.  I appreciated her kindness to me and my family, and because of some things mom had said, I got to talk about Jesus with her.  As we were leaving, I was able to pray with her right in the hotel lobby.  It was fun to share with the kids how their good attitudes and good choices made it possible for me to share Jesus with someone.  I hope it sunk in a little the importance of doing what God says is right.

I AM gonna kiss you!!!

We are home now, and it's all warm and sunny here.  This afternoon we are going to the courthouse to watch and celebrate a friend's adoption.  This little girl is a friend of theirs from their Tiger classes, and her parents invited us to share in this moment with them.  I can't wait, and am quite positive I'm gonna cry my eyes out.  I hope it's a good, affirming experience for the kiddos also.

Ok, gotta wake them up from their nap now.

Seriously mama's favorite picture right now


Daniel came over for dinner this evening, which was nice.  He's currently playing the guitar on my chair while the kiddos are going to sleep.  Philip FaceTimed me this evening, which was amazing-- it was so great to hear his voice, even if it was brief. So even though it has been a crazy day, I'm tired, happy, and enjoying the moment.  Not thinking about tomorrow quite yet-- that is overwhelming.  'Night y'all!

She kissed me!!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Brazil, Nerves, and Kiddos - Day 3

My friend and I gave each other fist-bumps at church today, congratulating each other that we made it three whole days without our husbands.  11 more to go.  Trying not to think about that.  The kids have been fantastic.  I can really tell people are praying for me.  The extra prayers are making a difference, and God is graciously holding me through this! My mom and mother-in-law have all helped a lot with the kids.  I feel a bit bad taking advantage of their kindness, but it is a blessing.

Anyway, Philip was super amazing about texting while he was with Hadson. I can't wait to hear more, but it seemed like the time was wonderful, precious, fun and encouraging.  Our friends picked Philip up at the airport Friday evening, and they went to a concert and then out to dinner on the beach.  Philip said it was BYOF: Bring Your Own Fish.  Something about a fish market and then dinner under the stars and shrimp...  Not sure.  Hadson doesn't like fish.

Saturday, Philip, Hadson and our friend Nathan went to a soccer game.  In the evening there was a youth event where Philip was privileged to share Scripture and encourage the kids. Hadson had to return to his army base early Sunday morning.  Philip went to church with our friends, the Souzas, and has now returned to Sao Paulo where he will join the rest of the team.

Knowing that Philip had to say "goodbye" again to Hadson had me in tears.  Surely the airport security wouldn't mind if we bundled Hadson up in an extra suitcase and brought him home, would they?

Here are a few pics that Philip texted home from his time up North.

This picture says so much- the smiles
and happiness just oozes through!

Before the soccer game :)

After dinner, with our friends and their family

Brazil, Nerves, and Kiddos - Day 1

Baby Girl gonna miss her Daddy!
Welp, it happened today.  Philip left for 2 weeks in Brazil.  He began to help plan this trip about a year go.  It seemed like so long ago then! I said, "Sure!  Go to Brasil!  I'll be fine!"  What was I thinking?!?  This is going to be the longest 2 weeks of my life.  Not only is Philip gone, but Anastasia is also!  I haven't slept for 2 nights, and was so dizzy and woozy today that I had to lay down.  My stomach has been in a knot for days.

The day has arrived, and I've cried about 4 times already.  He is on a plane with about 14 or so others from our church to go to Sao Paulo to work with kids and youth in schools, sports ministry, and churches.  They made it to their layover in NY, and are currently headed South.

A few things I'm excited about:

  • PHILIP GETS TO SEE HADSON!!!!!  God graciously allowed a number of things to line up so that he can take a few days away from the team to travel to Fortaleza.  Our friends, Julio and Kristina, are picking him up and allowing him to stay at their house.  I am so grateful for their willingness to help and flexibility.  I can. not. wait. for Hadson and Philip to be reunited after 8 years.  Trust me, there will be a post about that, and hopefully a ton of pictures to share!
  • This is the first time either Philip or I have returned to a place we have previously been on a missions trip.  We have been blessed to travel to many places, but we have never been able to return to see friends we have met along the way.
  • Philip and the team get to work with Juca and Rosemary, friends that have blessed our church over the years as they serve God.  Juca and Rosemary have been in our home and loved on our kiddos.  I am so glad that Philip can be there to serve them in Brasil.
  • Anastasia can spend more time with the folks at our church.  It's been hard to for her to build relationships with others at church when she is primarily at school and only home for short periods of time.  I'm grateful for this time where those relationships can develop and grow.
A few things I'm grateful for:
  • Philip can text while he's in Brasil, which will be wonderful for both the kids and me.
  • Friends and family that are helping me out while Philip and Stasia are away.
  • The prayers and support of others.  I can feel God strengthening me and giving me graciousness. 

The team at the airport

A few things I'm NOT excited about:
  • Being away from my husband for 2 weeks! This is the longest we have been apart since we got married 10 years ago.
  • With the two kiddos, I'm single-parenting for a while.
  • Missing Philip.
  • The kiddos don't get to see their Daddy for 2 weeks.  We are a bit apprehensive what this will do to their connection with their dad.  Will his absence damage their relationship?  Not sure.
  • Everything without Philip

Our chart, trying to visualize when Daddy will come home

Chilling, decorating our chart

Not a fan of Daddy leaving

Stasia sent me this pic from their flight

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sissy's Birthday Cake

This post is 3 months late.  Yup, I'm that much of a procrastinator, and I may be also super busy or something.  Anyway, I made Anya a birthday cake back in March, and it was so cute I wanted to share.  Is that lame or what?  Anyway, it was one of those Pinterest things that I wanted to try, and it actually turned out!

Since I did the "princess" party theme last year, I needed to choose something different this year.  Poke-a-dots!  

I got one of those cake-pop makers online, and was super impressed with it.

First, I made a recipe of batter, and divided the batter with some intense food coloring in it.  I never claimed this was healthy.

Here it goes into the handy-dandy cake-pop-maker:

Then it comes out looking like this.  Aren't they cute?  They aren't perfectly round but that didn't seem to matter.

Then, I put part of a cake mix in the bottom of a pan, laid the cooked pops in it, and covered it with the rest of the batter.  I made two layers of white cake, each with cake pops in the middle.

Here the two layers of cake are, each with cake pops inside

Frosted, with poke-a-dots on the outside, it looks like this :) 

My baby girl at dinner that evening, about to blow out her candle!

Here is how it looked when we cut into it!  Fun!

I'm not sure Anya appreciated the steps involved, but she was quite pleased to have a piece of cake! :)

The pops stayed moist, despite being baked twice.

Instead of a big party, I asked Anya to choose two friends to go to the tulip fields with her.  Mercifully, she chose two adults, which made life so easy for me.  We went to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm and enjoyed the fields.

Anyway, that's all for now!