Thursday, January 21, 2010


In 1993 I spent the summer in Mozambique, Africa. It was an insane trip. Getting there took us about a week. We flew from the states to Ireland, to Russia, to India, to Zimbabwe. Then we got on a train tot he border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Then we got held up at the border for 12 hours, which is not a place you want to hang out. THen we jumped into a covered truck and drove 2 hours in the night to a missionary compound. We had fire bombs thrown at us...did I mention Moz was in a state of civil war? And when we arrived at the compound they told us 2 months ago they had been kidnapped by rebels and held hostage. NICE! The next day we got into another truck and drove the rest of the way to Beira, Mozambique (with a UN escort).

We stayed in a YWAM facility that had a school and clinic for street children. Our job for the summer was to help refurbish the building to house missionaries and street children. It was kind of insane. I think I washed my clothes twice during the 6 weeks we were in the country, and we took bucket baths (with 1 gallon of water per person) about every 8 days. It's fun to be 16 and not care.

Anyway, I made tons of great friends on that trip, and on Saturday I was able to reconnect with one of my good friend, Chris and his wife Carrie and their newly adopted children, Mykah and Jackson. The last time I saw Chris and Carrie was in 2001, which is insane. It was actually before they even hooked up and married which all happened in 2002. Since then they have been busy, he finished med school, went back into the Army and is doing his residency in HI, and they now have 5 children. Their other 3 stayed out in HI, but Chris came out to Atl to meet Carrie who was flying in from Swaziland with their other 2 children, after a 2 month, intense, adoption trip.
Now they are all united back in HI and I am sure the fun is just beginning. In any case, it was super fun to see my old buddy, Chris. One of these days our two fams are going to hook up for a mission trip, with Dave as a dentist, Chris as a doc, and Carrie as a nurse, we should be unstoppable. I am not sure what I will do, though I said I was NOT going to take care of the kids.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Used to Care...

Sometimes I still do care what other people think about the different things I am doing, but a lot of times I am just happy to do my own thing and let everyone else do theirs. I think I have the responsibility to make decisions that are best for my family and my children, and I would think that everyone else is doing the same thing. If I don't want to do something, I'll probably just tell you. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, or that I think you are wrong for doing it, it just means that I'm not doing it. (I must mention here that while there are some things that I really don't care what others think, there are some things that I really DO care what others think...I'm not totally ice-man.)

It's no surprise that these days I'm a little more emotional than normal. I get a little more worked up about things than I normally might, and I care a little more about things than on an average day. I'm fragile. But last week I got some news that pushed me over the edge...wait for is earth-shattering news...I have to find a new preschool for my girls. Ugh! This fall, our current preschool is only offering one option for children who are 4. The option is to go to school for 4 days. And for my family that is too much.

Everyone has their own reasons for sending their kiddos to preschool, but mine go something like this...I just want one morning a week where I have the opportunity to go to the grocery store alone, or get a pedicure alone, or sit in my house and read a book alone, or clean the house and cook alone (which I used to do before I got prego). And I want my girls to go to a place where they can play outside, do some fun art projects, sing some fun songs, and enjoy being kids. I do not care about curriculum, I honestly do not expect them to learn one thing (it always seems to surprise me when I realize that they learned something), not because I do not want them to learn anything, but because that is not why I am sending them to preschool. I am confident that Dave and I can teach them everything they need to know at this point. So learning is not important to me (right now). So, if that is my motivation, why in the world would I want my girls to go to school 4 days every week?

I totally freaked out when I realized that was the only option, because I knew for us that would not be an option. And then because we do not know what we want to do for future schooling for the girls, the whole situation was blown out of proportion. You know the drill, Dave and I are sitting on the couch after the girls are in bed. I'm retelling the situation...crying...asking him if I'm a good mother...and it deteriorates from there. We have since found a decent option with another preschool where I will have sign up both girls for 3 days, but (since Dave has Fridays off) I will only be sending them 2 days. Because we have to register in a couple weeks we will go ahead and try to get the girls in the classes (though it is a pretty popular preschool, so I am not fully confidant that we will be able to get into the classes). If we cannot get in, we will try to get on the waiting list, and see what happens. And in the mean time I'm going to start thinking about what life might look like if both girls are home with me and the baby in the fall. Who knows, maybe that is the best scenario for our family?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

News, News, News

Before I write any more, I must finally write about my most pressing news. We are having a baby. Thank goodness that is finally out there because I have had to wait a LONG time, so it feels, to write that news. We are very excited to be welcoming another McShnazzy into the world sometime during the month of July, the earlier, the better in my mind...whoever made up having to wait 42 weeks for a baby was a very sick person, and I hope that I will never have to do that again. The funny thing is we have been met with some pretty funny (in my mind) remarks/questions. Of course everyone is excited, and then maybe feels like they need to ask additional questions about the matter, such as, "was this planned?" OK, that is just a little weird to me. I mean, maybe if it is obvious that there is a reason why someone might not have wanted to get prego, like they are finishing their PhD and are due the week they are defending their disseration, or something like that. The other thing it seems to imply is that I can plan these things...and while I realize there are things I can do to prevent such things and also to try to make such things happen, I do not think I can make a baby appear inside me, no matter how hard I plan or do not plan. I am sure there are some women who can do this, but I am not one of them.

The other comment I continue to receive is about this baby coming in July, which might not be that big of a deal in other parts of the country, but for anyone who has lived through a Georgia summer, it is hot and humid and well, hard to be prego during these months. I really do not care when I have a baby, and my general response has been, if I had not wanted to be prego during the summer I should just not have sex from September-December. I's fairly simple to figure out.

The final thing we generally hear is, are you hoping for a boy? Well, that is a loaded question for me. I love my girls, and I certainly do not wish they were boys. I highly doubt that I will burst into tears at my ultrasound if they tell me I'm having another girl. I will be thrilled with another healthy baby, no matter what kind. However, if I never have the opportunity in my life to be Mama to a boy, I will be sad. I would like to have that experience, I would like to have my girls have a brother, and I would like Dave to be a Dada to a son. But, we are not "trying" for a boy, we were trying for a baby. If we were certain we wanted a boy, we would have fostered to adopt, or found some other situation where we could be fairly certain we would receive a boy.

Anyway, enough ramblings about that. The girls are thrilled to death about the baby, which is a fun experience I did not have when I was prego with Annelise. I was just happy when Hadleigh showed up to the hospital, pointed to Annelise and said, "baby!" Thank goodness she knew what that was! So this is a new experience for us as a family and a super fun one too.

I myself am usually sick and feeling foul around this time of pregnancy, and this one is no different. I have opted for medication this time around which is helping, while it is helping me keep everything down, I am still really tired, and have little energy for anything other than sitting on the couch. I have found that as long as I sit on the couch all day I feel great, but the more I get up and move around and do things, the more I feel puny. So, we are doing a lot of sitting, reading and watching movies these days. The girls have been great and understanding, and Dave, as always is incredible. He is holding down the housework/laundry, etc. And Dave's mom brought 25+ frozen homecooked meals with her when they came to visit, so we have been enjoying some wonderful food (including cheesecake cookies and cherry pie and banana bread). She is incredible and it has been a wonderful blessing to have a freezer full of food during this time.

And now I must spend some time with Hadleigh before Annelise wakes up from her nap.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Books for 2009 and 2010

I must admit that I am probably not going to be able to list all the books I read this year, because I simply cannot remember some of the things I have read. For example I know I read "Cocktails for Three" by Sophie Kinsella, and I know I read a couple other boks of hers, but cannot remember the titles. Ah well. In any case, here are some of the books I read this past year in no particular order. I'll only comment on a few of them.


Prince Caspian
CS Lewis

The Prodigal God
Tim Keller
I enjoy Keller so much and can read anything he has written and will listen to any sermon he has preached. I love his Bible studies and have done most of them. Of all current theologians, he is my absolute fav.

Total Money Makeover
Dave Ramsey
I LOVE Dave Ramsey. I wish I knew about him when we lived in Germany and were getting out of debt. We have been debt free (besides the house) for 2 years which has been awesome. I used his method of envelopes before I knew about him and even on a tiny budget we were able to pay off thousands of dollars. I love not being bound to financing every little thing, and the freedom that comes from not having a bunch of bills. I look forward to the day when we pay off our home, which we hope to do in the next 15 years.

Don't Make Me Count to Three
Ginger Plowman
Best parenting book I have read to date.

Remember Me? and Cocktails for Three
Sophie Kinsella

Cost of Discipleship
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Hard stuff...good stuff.

My Hands Came Away Red
Lisa McKay

The Well Trained Mind
Susan Wise Bauer
Love her, love this book, and plan to read more of her this year.

Randy Alcorn

Wild Swans
Jung Chang

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Soctiey
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Prob my fav fiction of the year. Very fun read.

Making Small Groups Work
Cloud and Townsend

Family Worship: In the Bible, in History, and in Your Home
Donald Whitney
Eh...not so much...if you want to read it borrow it from me.

Nurture By Nature: How to Raise Happy, Healthy, Responsible Children throught the Insights of Personality
Paul Tieger

Motherstyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths
Janet Penley and Diane Eble

The Unlikely Spy
Daniel Silva

Read with the Girls

Little House on the Prairie
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Milly Molly Mandy
Joyce Lankester Brisley

Winnie the Pooh and The House on Pooh Corner
AA Milne

Mary Poppins
PL Travers


Animal, Vegtable, Miracle

Hidden Art of Homemaking (need to finish)
Edith Schaffer

The Well Educated Mind
Susan Wise Bauer

The Unfolding Mystery of Christ (need to finish)
Ed Clowney

Case for Civility
Os Guiness

What is a Family
Edith Schaffer

Tullian Tchividjian

Counterfeit Gods
Tim Keller

Something by Charlotte Mason

The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading
Jessie Wise

Praying the Scriptures for Your Children
Jodie Berndt

A Year with Your Children in the Bible
Jim Cromarty

With the Children on Sundays
Sylvanus Stall

Julie and Julia
Julie Powell

My Life in France
Julia Child

Read with the Girls

Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan
EB White

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum

Wind in the Willows
Kenneth Grahame

The Story of Dr. Doolittle
Hugh Lofting

Just So Stories
Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Miss Hadleigh Claire

It's been a while since I have done my girlie updates. It seems like the first couple of years there are so many new things to document, and then after 2 it just slows down a bit, so I suppose now that I have two children over two years old (who the heck made that up?) I'll just let these updates be slower in coming.

In eight weeks, my little miss will turn four years old. Somehow four seems very old to me, like you are a real kid when you are four, dude you are almost ready to start kindergarten. Crap! I remember when HC was little it was so hard to figure out what she needed sometimes, was she tired, or hungry, or sick, or cutting a tooth? I thought it would be so nice to get to an age when I can actually know what is wrong and why.

Well, we should be at that age, but I am now convinced it just takes a LOT of work, time and effort to know your children. Last night, Dave and I spent all evening talking about Hadleigh, why do you think she does this, when she does that how should we handle it, how do we help her grow and develop, etc. The nice thing is that between the two of us we were able to answer a lot of questions, but it made me think how important it is for me to really know my girls and to treat them according to how I know them. Tiredness. So for better or worse, here are some things I know about my little girl.

She is really shy. Once she is comfortable in a situation, her shyness goes out the window, but it takes a while for her to feel comfortable. She never walks into a room and exclaims her presence. She doesn't walk up to kids on the playground and ask them to play with her. She will only timidly walk into her Sunday school class, though she loves it. But if one of big friends or little friends comes over to play, give her 2 minutes and she will be telling them all about something important, or will be showing off her ballet move. So, while she is shy, she is very extroverted in nature.

She has a hard time ordering things. I am wondering if part of this is just developmental, but I also think part of it is her personality. For example, if this afternoon I asked her what we did this morning, she would not be able to tell you. After some prompting she could would come up with the answer, but on her own forget it. After lunch I have been reading LIttle House on the Praire to her, and she LOVES it. She always says, "we have to read Laura and Mary and baby Carrie, what's going to happen?" After I read the chapter I will ask her about what we just read, and she will not be able to tell me what happened in the chapter. Yesterday this was really frustrating me, and then I started thinking that her mind works randomly, like her mind makes random associations and those are stored in her memory. The other day before we started reading she asked what was going to happen and then said, "maybe Santa Clause will come again" (which we had read about a few days prior) "or maybe there will be a scream in the night" (which had been the chapter before. So, she is obviously remembering what we have read in some way, but cannot seem to recall the information in the order that I want her to. I have noticed more and more how random she is, especially when I sit down and talk to her during potty time. The things she talks about are wild, jumping from one thing to another...oh the child is just like me. So it is nice to have a little bit of understanding about her brain when I get super frustrated about her not being able to recall something. I told Dave last night, the child can memorize whole passages of scripture in a couple of days, remember all the words to every song she has ever heard, but she cannot remember what she did this does this work? It's nice to have some thoughts about it now.

We talked about many more things about Hadleigh, and while at first it was tiring, it also became fun to think more about who she is as a person and how we can help her grow up and develop her loves, and talents. I love my sweet Hadleigh.

Monday, January 04, 2010

I Love Being a Mama

These past six months have been really fun (some of the time). The community group that we had led and hosted for 2 years ended in May, and so did our responsibilities as leaders in our Sunday fellowship. So, we have been floating.

I generally hate floating. Floating is LAME. And as much as I do crave a new sense of belonging at my church (since we are not currently in a community group and have been loosley attending a new fellowship), I have been enjoying a part of this floating thing. I like the part where I get to be a Mama. I think that I was so caught up in doing things, planning things, meeting with people, cleaning my house for CG or for a leadership meeting, that I started not liking being a Mama. Or, I was just craving for the day when I could do all these things that I really care about, like hanging out with refugees and stuff.

I think over the past few months I have sunk my roots deep in my house, and deep in my girls. And overall, right now, I really just want to be a Mama. I mean, please, I want a minute to get my hair cut and a pedicure. I'll keep my weekends away with girlfriends, my night out with the my crazy Bunco playing neighbors, and a fun birthday dinner out with my mommy friends. Oh yea, and time with Dave too! But, I am not craving time for planning the next church retreat, or time to see the refugees like I used to.

There is a part of me that has realised I will not have my girls forever, and that I need not wish this time away. There is also a part of me that realised that staying home with my girls is a valuable thing that should not be wished away. It is just as honoring and pleasing to God as anything else that anyone else does. I don't get minus points for not visiting refugees! And it sure is a lot more peaceful when I am content serving my family. Soon enough my girls will be older and I will have more time to do more of the things that I want to do, but right now I am taking great pleasure in being with them. I LOVE reading to them. I could sit all morning and read book after book. I love listening to them play together (and fight) while I do something else around the house. I love figuring out how to teach them new things, and helping them discover about life and God.

Right now I am really thankful for the time I have with them. One day it will not be like this, which is probably good, but I am trying to enjoy everyday that I have with them. Yea for Mamas!