Wednesday, January 27, 2016

String Party 2015

If you have followed our family for a while you know what I'm talking about when I say "String Party".  If not, let me explain...

...when I was a child my mom and her sisters concocted a brilliant idea called a string party.  Instead of drawing names or getting standard Christmas presents, the three moms would spend the year collecting small (but AWESOME) gifts from dollar stores and other such places for each of the nieces and nephews.  Then, one night, when we were all together for the holidays, they would stay up (way past their bedtime) and decorate a designated room (usually a living room that would be covered with a sheet until the big reveal the next morning) while having way too much fun (moms and dads aren't EVER supposed to have fun).

Then, after breakfast, us kids would anxiously wait by the sheet to be given our designated yarn color, the sheet would be dropped, and we would excitedly follow our yarn string around the living room to retrieve our clothes pinned toys and gifts.

Now, years later, we have continued this tradition with my family.

Each family is in charge of 3 gifts for each child (but sometimes we get a little out of control;).

We come together (the current string party gathering place is my parent's barn) and us adults are able to use our ninja-like skills to string the yarn all over the barn and disperse the toys for each kid on their particular colored string, which is half the fun!

The next day (or after nap time) when the adults say it's time, the kids wait outside the barn with their bags awaiting instructions.

Once the doors are opened they know to start at the potty (because every old barn has an extra toilet sitting around in it that has all the leftover string party strings sitting inside, ha!), and jump in the fun!

This is the newest String Party attender.  She was SO excited to be joining us this year!
The littlest active members of the string party have their own little string that they follow on the side with an adult.  That way they don't get clobbered in the mass of strings toys and children!

It has become a highlight for our kids (and us adults)!

It's way more fun when all my siblings and their kids can join us, but life happens:(  Hopefully next year we will all be back together again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Words Worth Remembering

Me:"Why do I always have to say the same thing over again?"
Jude:"Because my ears don't want to listen to you."


Jude:"Mom, I'm not sweaty yet (from working out) but when I am sweaty I'll let you feel me."


Jude (talking to Siri): "Um, I love Hotwheels cars so could you put some new ones in my mailbox for me?"


Jude:"We should look it up on giggle!"
(giggle = GOOGLE)


Jude: *achoooo* "Bless you myself."


Jude (watching me change outfits):"Mom, why do you keep changing your clothes on and off?"
Me:"Because I'm just not feelin' it, ya know?"
Jude:"What does that even mean?  That doesn't even make any sense."
Me:"I just need to find something more comfortable for today."
Jude:"K. I'm just gonna turn around so only my legs see you being inappropriate."


According to Jude...
"Mackin' Akarica" is Captain America
"Staw Waws" is Starbucks


Rainy:"How long have you and daddy been married?"
Me:"Almost 14 years."
Jude:"That's a lot of minutes.  That's a lot of five minutes!"


Jude:"Cai, I'm telling on you for nothin'!"


Cai:"If I was going to see Santa I was going to ask him if I could have five sunny side up eggs sitting by the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.  And add bacon and sausage and eggs too."


Jude:"I have a lot of bless you's.  I LOVE bless you's."


Jude:"Mom, is this the 'Ever Be On My List' song?"
("Ever Be" on my lips by Bethel worship)


Zeke:"Mom, we should make a tacky."
Me:"What's that?"
Zeke:"You know, those houses that Indians lived in made of sticks and cloth."
Me:"Oooohhh, a Teepee?"


Jude:"I don't really like babies cuz' they lick me."

Saturday, January 23, 2016

#MayviaInUG ~ Part 5

~ Don't forget to catch up on Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 first ~

What a time Mayvia had in this distant land (called Africa) with their friend they call Kelly.  They had fun seeing her in her own environment, they had some much-needed face-time and shared some very special moments together where they discussed dark seasons, parenting struggles, God's hand on their lives, life in general, and it may have been mentioned that the girl named Tasha needed to change out her silver-hooped earnings that she had worn since the 10th grade.  It was also mentioned that the girl named Tasha had never even taken those hooped earnings out except for mandatory purposes (we call these soccer games).  So dangly earrings were purchased for said girl named Tasha and she finally entered her 30's (right before her 37th birthday! Yay).

These conversations the 3 girlfriends had, they were things that needed to be said, but were only conversations that could be had when looking the recipient in the eye.  The 3 girlfriends laughed all the laughs, cried all the cries, and now it was time to say their farewells.

Saying "see ya later" is never the fun part, but the inevitable part of such an adventure.  (And knowing that the girl called Kelly would soon be coming back to her native land was also helpful.)

After the embrace and the goodbye tears, Mayvia headed inside to board their carriage (we call this an airplane) back to their families (and husbands who were anxiously awaiting their arrival. Eleven children.  That's all I need to say.)

But not until Mayvia decided to throw all advice aside from the husband they call Josh and decided to brave the other distant land (called Amsterdam) because of a carriage changeover (we call this a long layover).

So, the girls called Mayvia put on their big girl undies (because the "p" word is NOT allowed in the vicinity of the girl named Tasha, ahem), purchased their boat tickets (we call these train tickets.  I'm running out of old-timey transportation descriptions.)  and headed out into the world of the unknown (actually, it's called Amsterdam).

The air was brisk and the wind was cold, so it's a good thing they dressed appropriately (that is called sarcasm).

They walked the streets of this unknown land (which was actually somewhat familiar because the girl called Heidi used to live here as a child) and basked in the culture... they walked toward their destination (the Madame Tussauds wax museum), to meat some of the most influential people in the world (kind of).

After scratching backs with all these famous people, Mayvia decided it was time to head back to the carriage station (called an airport) and head home to their waiting families.

Mayvia loaded up on familiar beverages that can't be found in the distant land they had been visiting (called Africa).  (It's also worth noting the MISspelled name on Heidi's coffee, and the beautiful sparkly fingernails.  Sparkly fingernails are a must when 3 girlfriends get together;)...

...and got comfortable for the long trek back to their native land.

While Mayvia slept the hours away, their little native children were busy preparing for their arrival.

Mayvia's adventures to this distant land (called Africa) had finally come to a close and they were safely back home with the ones they love.

Mayvia did many other things as well.  If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written...

Friday, January 22, 2016

#MayviaInUG ~ Part 4

~ Make sure to catch up on the story with Part1, Part 2 and Part 3 ~

Not all of Mayvia's adventures were exclusively for adults.  Both "May" and "via" were excited to love on the little natives who belonged to the girl called Kelly and the husband who calls himself Smooth.

The adventures with these girls looked like walking the "neighborhood" and scouting out the beautiful terrain in their home village.

They also got to know each other as we shared meals together (and played on the restaurant playgrounds while we waited for our meals.  America should really jump on board with this whole playgrounds at the fanciest of restaurants, but maybe not the hour or more wait that it takes for your food to come out.)

Especially when the restaurant is "relocating" and they have ripped out the entire backyard...

The girl named Tasha used to frequent this joint.
It was very sad to see it all ripped up, but at least they have rented other property to build again.

Another highlight of Mayvia's adventures was attending the church which the husband who calls himself Smooth helped to birth, called Jinja Town Church.

They worshiped together...

They got to snuggle the newest member of the AAI babies home, Noel...

See old friends...

Tasha, Susan and Heidi
The girl named Tasha actually shared this Susan's hut during her adoption stay.
This is the "kitchen" where the girl named Areyna used to help cook

After church the entourage headed out to eat and Mayvia got yet another glimpse into life in this distant land (called Africa).  Their broken down car is more common than not and the locals always come to help save the day.  Mayvia loved watching how all the people always seem to work together to make life work here in this distant land (called Africa).

Mayvia also witnessed how one is supposed to buy toilet paper (it's much cheaper off the street vendors in Kampala), wait for traffic (you are never guaranteed a non-stop trip without having to wait on cattle crossing the road) and the proper way to build a cancer hospital (it's amazing how these people build with sticks and mud!).

The scenery was enjoyed around every turn,

and Mayvia even took their turns carrying baskets of bananas on their head and sucking (and spitting out) sugar cane.

Then there was the photo taken at the risk of getting arrested.  But I won't mention which of the 3 girlfriends actually ignored the husband called Josh's words to be "safe and wise".

What a wonderful trip Mayvia had down memory lane, and peaking into a small window of the day-to-day life of the girl called Kelly and the husband who calls himself Smooth and their lives here in this distant land (called Africa).

But like all adventures...they cannot last forever, and the goodbye's have to come.  But not until after Mayvia witnessed Christmas caroling, Uganda style...

...and making the trek back to the carriage drop-off (which will now be referred to the airport again).

The hellos were coming to an end and the goodbyes were quickly approaching.

{TO BE CONTINUED...(one more time)}

#MayviaInUG ~ Part 3

Make sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of Mayvia's adventure ~

The next morning was a day to sleep in and relax.  It was so nice to take it easy and just be.  But, after a nice relaxed morning Mayvia and the girl called Kelly decided it was time to go experience some of this distant land (called Africa) and see some of the things that you can only see in a land such as this.

I feel as though I must pause and explain something right now.  Both parties that make up the girls we call Mayvia, had both been to Africa before, but for various different reasons (we call these mission trips and adoption).  So although this was somewhat familiar territory, there was a freedom that came with this trip that allowed Mayvia to enjoy every bit of the experience.

The next few days were full of the girl called Kelly's favorite eating establishments, shop vendors and kid-free activities that she frequents when given the chance.  And because we had a lot of Christmas shopping to do, the 3 friends took to the streets of Jinja to find the perfect gifts made by friends of the girl called Kelly.

The girl called Tasha got to help support this woman by buying some gifts from her shop.
She is a friend of the girl called Kelly and I loved being able to meet her face-to-face.

Pius is a painter.  It was so intriguing to watch him create beautiful art.

He painted these pictures, which just so happen to be the middle names of
the girl named Tasha's little girls at home.

The girl called Heidi may kill the girl called Tasha for posting this one,
but it gives you such a good idea of what the inside of the majority of these shops look like.
Plus, the size of these "consequence spoons" is spectacular!
After so much shopping, the 3 girlfriends decided it was time to eat.  One of the lunch stops we made was an all-time favorite called The Source Cafe.

The girl named Tasha had been WAITING for this meal.
It was a favorite during her stay a few years back.
The guacamole wrap at The Source.

Another favorite is a place simply called, The Deli (we like to call this restaurant, "Heaven In Jinja".) The food was delicious.  The atmosphere was welcoming, and they had many things that Americans would die to get their hands on that are hard to find: wrapping paper for Christmas presents, a small tin of chocolate chips, milk and cheese from the local creamery, cuts of meat, some frozen meals to prepare at home and some other fun things that are typically hard to find.  I'm pretty sure the girl called Tasha would have lived at this establishment if it would have been around just 4 years earlier!

Tasha and Kelly eating outside at The Deli

Freezers full of different cuts of meats and poultry

In the midst of all the shopping and eating that the 3 girlfriends did, the girl called Kelly actually did have an important mission to complete.  She was in need of a new hammock (because Africa happened to her other one).  Mayvia was all about helping to complete this mission and they were not disappointed in the adventure.

They loaded up in the carriage (we still call it a car, but it is the girl called Kelly's car...and it has AWESOME speakers and lights that shine out of the windshield wiper sprayer.  That's all you need to know about the ride our ride, ha!) and drove about 15 minutes out of town to a place called Kilombera.  It is a hand weaving store that makes things like blankets, hammocks, pillow cases, aprons, place mats and the like.  We also saw some stockings and pocket books as well.

They outsource cloth diapers and reusable baby items like wipes and bibs.
Another place the 3 girlfriends ate was called the Sailor's club.  The outside view overlooks Lake Victoria and the food was delicious, of course.

The sunset on Lake Victoria that a photo can't even begin to give justice to.
There is one other adventure that occurred while bumping around in their awesome swagger carriage.  The 3 girlfriends were headed home one evening and passed a puppy rummaging around in a trash pile.  Now for those of you who have never been to this distant country (called Africa) to witness these overflowing dumpsters, think...overflowing, public dumpster which is well over 3 months behind from being emptied by the trash people, and then think a little worse than that and you may be pretty close.  The 3 girlfriends waited and waited to see if there was a mommy or daddy around to help this little puppy out.  Nothing.  The girls discussed the options for this little puppy and the only clear option was for the girl named Tasha (who only sees big pointy teeth when viewing a dog, no matter the size) to get out of the carriage (with its glowing windshield sprayers) and go rescue the dog out of the trash heap (disregarding the wise words of the husband she calls Josh, to be "smart and wise").

To make a long story short, the girl named Kelly, along with the husband who calls himself Smooth, their 5 girls, their litter of kitties, 2 cats, 2 dogs, and multitude of chickens and a rooster, now have a cute little puppy named, wait for it...Mayvia (although, the 5 little girls in the house insist on calling him by another name.  Whatever, we all know his rightful name, given to him by the 3 girlfriends who risked their lives for his, or something like that).

I'm pretty sure that Mayvia and the girl called Kelly all imagined what life would be like if they could live life like this every day...but then again, it wouldn't be so special.

And we wouldn't be able to connect, or not connect... faces like this, of children back home who just needed to see mommy after a bad dream.

I know this seems like it could be the end, but the adventures were still not over.
Mayvia had a lot of little girls to love on while they were in town and more of this distant country (called Africa) to experience before heading home!