Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quarter of a Century

October 1st, 2011, my husband celebrated his 25th birthday. I love that every year he turns older, we get closer and closer to spending more of our life together than apart.

Is there an actual phrase for that? There should be.

We were in the big city for the weekend and ate out at On the Border for lunch....
and Texas Roadhouse for dinner! Ian was in heaven, with a country fried chicken dinner, college football, and endless sweet tea. Grace fell asleep in his arms and I think just about everything was perfect for him!
Three weeks later and I finally got around to making him a cake. We were in an import store and Ian picked out a Cherry Chip cake mix and Cherry Frosting....

Pink Cherry Frosting.

Yes, his 25th birthday cake was pink. And delicious.

I told him that only a real man would be totally okay with a pink cake. He said he didn't care, as long as it tasted good!

And yes, his t-shirt is covered with the silhouettes of famous men's hair/beards.

It's like a very weird Where's Waldo.

On my husband's chest.

Happy Birthday, Ian! Thanks for being such a wonderful husband, father, provider, comforter, and best friend.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

25, 26, 27, 28

I've been doing monthly update posts on Grace along with these picture posts of her life, week by week, and I have to tell you, I'm LOVING having these pictures. My plan is, after her first birthday, to order a photo book with just her 52 week by week pictures and her 12 monthly photos. It may not tell a coherent story but it shows her growth, her personality, and the passing of time.

My Grace baby is such a joy. I've said that before and I'll say it again. She is a happy, smiley, squeally little baby, who is all girl and who loves her momma.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Our Weekend

I came up with this meme, called "Our Weekend," last month as a way to capture the little things in a not so exciting weekend. We're not always going out and doing things that are blog worthy, but I want to remember the simple things in life that made up weekends! I love that so many of you joined in did your own "Our Weekend" post and would love to read more about your weekend if you decide to join this time!

Outside my window...
Scooters zooming past, the call to prayer ringing in the dawning night air, the soccer field (read, dust bowl,) emptying of its teenage occupants as they hurry home before dusk.

I am thinking
that emotions get the better of me. If only I could be as logically minded as I would like .

I am smelling
chicken baking and cleaners from a freshly scrubbed bathroom.

I am thankful
that I only have 2 weeks left before our fall break. My mind is bogged down with Arabic.

From my kitchen-
Baked Potato Soup with the precious commodity of bacon and bacon grease, cherry chip cake, homemade pizza puffs, and Grace's new baby foods- peas and apples.

I am wearing
a fleece and pajama pants. And socks. I think it has dipped down into the 80's and my house is FREEZING!

I am creating
a banner for a baby shower I am co-hosting this weekend. Or rather, the idea behind the banner, as I have yet to track down colored paper in this town.

I am going
to the bathroom alot. Is that "too much information?" My bad. I'm trying to drink alot of water because I have not been making enough milk lately. Also "too much information?" Again, so sorry.

I am reading
Boundaries with Kids, the book of Luke, and adoption blogs.

I am hoping
that my test in Arabic goes well tomorrow. Two weeks ago they "surprised" us with a test before we had even finished the chapter. I was so surprised and SO angry that I just started bawling (silently, of course, I'm a silent crier,) and my poor teacher just stared at me as snot streamed down my face and as I tried to finish the listening portion of the test. Then I excused myself and went home because I was such a mess.

Yeah, I'm hoping I do better than that. Especially since I know this test is coming.

I am hearing
the toilet running, cars squealing, the neighbor kids running up and down the stairs.

We Decided
to go to bed early last night. I love sleep.

Our Music-
the Goldberg Variations- please look them up online, such a CHEAP set of classical music for over 75 minutes worth of music. Beautiful!

Our Viewing-
the new episode of Terra Nova, we're really liking it! Anne of Green Gables and the Sequel. Love, LOVE, love!

One of my favorite things- we paid off one out of two credit cards! What a big sigh of relief! Now to knock out the second one!

We're looking forward to fall break in just two little weeks! We have a trip for Ian's work so we'll be headed out of the country but I am so excited to get away!

A Glimpse Within-{And if you can't read it, her shirt says "Made From Scratch!"}

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Guess What We Did...

Guess what we did this week.

Or, rather, guess what Grace did this week!

After her six month check up, on Tuesday, October 18th, where she got her two shots and found out she had dropped from the 25th percentile to the 10th in weight (she's a lean mean fighting machine. The doctor is not worried, but if it doesn't improve then we'll switch to formula in a couple of weeks,) we headed to a local mall for dinner at Chili's and some grocery shopping.

And then, the highlight of the night.....

Grace got her ears pierced!!

Six months is very young, but I got mine done as a baby and I am so thankful that my parents got it done before I had a concept of pain, or, you know, memory of pain!

Also, the local girls get their ears pierced usually earlier than six months so it is not uncommon here at all.

Here we are, getting instructions from the doctor (a Dr. in a pharmacy performs the ear piercing here,)
They brought us back into a little room, marked her ears, then had several other women who work at the pharmacy check the positioning of the marks.

I held Grace while Ian took pictures. Here one of the worker ladies is distracting Grace while the first ear is pierced...
And then the second!
And here, is a strange lady, not an employee of the pharmacy, who oohed and ahhed over our bald headed, blue eyed, white skinned baby...
And then Grace was promptly returned to my arms and she stopped crying.
All of the pharmacy employees doted on Grace and said "And now, she is a GIRL!"

The upkeep is so simple. Twice a day I wipe her ears with a alcohol swab and turn the earrings clockwise and counter clockwise. So easy!
Sweet baby girl! We're so grateful that we got to share this experience with her!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A View From the Top

We spent an evening at a local park,
Visiting with friends,
Chatting to locals,
And enjoying the scenery of endless desert skies reaching down to touch the dusty sand-swept ground.
"Rugged," doesn't do it justice.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Low Key {and rain in the desert}

I know, two posts in one day.

Watch out world.

But sometimes, when you have an amazing day, you just need to share it, if only to encourage someone else in the throes of a horrible day.

Ian and I had an unofficial date night today.

And all because our power turned off!

Our area of our little tiny city seems to have rolling black outs frequently, so when the power shut off, right as I was in the middle of shredding chicken in the food processor, we loaded Grace into her carseat for naptime and set out on a drive (with our car's air conditioning.)

We drove around our little city, exploring a few areas that we had never set foot in.

We sang along to "Sweet Home Alabama," "Island in the Sun," and a plethora of The Postal Service songs.

We watched as a dust storm rolled in, with wisps of sand streaking across the roads.

We stopped and picked up one of our favorite Middle Eastern desserts, basboosa.

And then, miracle of all miracles, it started to rain.


In the DESERT!

Grace has never driven in the rain.
Or seen it.
Or touched it.

She stirred from her nap and was momentarily frightened until our gleeful chatter lulled her back to sleep.

We talked and talked and talked, and finally returned home to feed, bathe, and put Grace down for the night.

Then we went for a nighttime stroll in our neighborhood, with a dust cleared sky and a mountain of fire in the background.

And, even though the temperatures were only in the seventies, we shivered as we walked along and thought of the months to come.

Because Winter, in the desert, is like Spring in the rest of the world.


And all of this was rung in with a walk in the desert with my husband.

Like I said, it was a good night.

Happy Six Months, Grace!

This is 10 days late but we had to wait for the weekend after she turned 6 months to take her pictures!

Height: 25.2 inches
Weight: 13.4 pounds
Head: 16.5 inches

At five and a half months, I changed all of Grace's clothes out, not because she had outgrown her 0-3 months, but because she was 5 and a half months old and still wearing 0-3 months! I was worried that she was going to grow all of a sudden and jump right over her 3-6 month sized clothes! Stupid, I know, but I was also ready for something new!

Food: Grace nurses every three hours from 7 am until 7 pm, and dropped her dreamfeed at the beginning of her 5th month! I pump at night so that she can have her 10 am feed at daycare. We send 4 tablespoons of rice cereal to school, and she eats 4 tablespoons at night before her bath.

Sleep: Grace is completely deswaddled and around September 7th, began sleeping through the night, 7pm until 7 am! I think dropping her dream feed has let her sleep more solidly, and longer!

She doesn't really nap at daycare, for the entire five hours that she is there (sometimes she'll get in a couple 10 minute cat naps, because they don't know how to put her down without letting her fall asleep with a bottle,) but she comes home and sleeps for 2 hours, wakes up for an hour, and then sleeps for another hour.

Activity: Grace learned to sit up, unpropped, this month on September 21st. She will play by herself on the floor, reaches for people, and she finally learned how to roll over from her back to her tummy.

Personality: Grace is an observer, she loves to look around her environment. She is a very happy content baby but likes to be held/played with all of the time when she is awake. She became very Mommy attached this month, sometimes not even liking it when Ian holds her. She shrieks very loudly but is not yet making any syllable like sounds.


*Grace makes a piercingly sharp shrieking noise, and we affectionately call her our little Naz'Gul, which is the black riders from Lord of the Rings.

Except, she isn't the harbinger of death.

*She has really fallen into her bedtime routine. She gets so excited when we start it because she knows sleep is near. At 6, we begin feeding her cereal, followed immediately after by a bath, lotion, and footie pajamas (a must for her!) Then she nurses and I lay her down in her crib awake. I pop in her pacifier and hand her her "deal" blankets, two little burp rags that she holds onto. She rolls over onto her side and is immediately asleep!

Grace, my beautiful baby girl. Every day your personality becomes bigger and bigger. Your smile lights up our lives and you bring so much joy into our lives. I pray every day that God will keep your "heart beating, lungs breathing, and mind functioning through the night" so that you can face another day with your sweet adventurous spirit.

Your Momma

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Life Marches On

Life Marches On
Or is it Time Marches on?

I'm not really sure, because both seem right.

I've been struggling lately.

With homesickness, fatigue, language overload, policy changes, our apartment flooding, financial responsibility, death of a family member, miscommunications with loved ones so far away, and have I mentioned the fatigue?

I am not complaining, even if it sounds like it.

It just is what it is.

There have been some mighty victories in my life lately.

I've come to terms with several things that was giving me great anxiety. I've had a chance to talk with some of my family members and some of my close friends. I started accountability with a friend and it has been so relieving to have someone to open up to.

I've had some great time out in the community, talking with locals. I've become more comfortable on this side of the world.

Life marches on.

Despite my absence from the blogging world, Ian still had his 25th birthday, Grace turned 6 months, we had a lovely weekend away, our apartment flooded, we had our first round of language tests for the semester, and Ian went on his first business trip since Grace was born.

Life marches on.

Whether I blog about it or not.

One day, I will find the energy to remember these last couple of weeks and share about them, but for now, I breathe in the sweet scent of my baby's clean head, snuggle close to my husband, and try not to fall asleep on my homework.