Saturday, November 30, 2013


Our Thanksgiving this year looked very different. We are usually surrounded by family, eating familiar foods, talking for hours, and playing games. This year we were surrounded by about 30 friends from 6 countries enjoying a potluck of delicious foods. I had such a wonderful time. And then we got home I got to Skype with my parents, brother, and ALL FOUR of my grandparents. I was struck again by the paradox of living overseas. Yes, I am happy here and I love it, but at the same time my heart is breaking with sadness.

I am thankful for many things this year, but here are a few:

  • I am thankful for Betty. I truly don't know how I ever managed a household without her. She makes it possible for me to entertain so often. And on top of that she is one of the most thoughtful people I have ever known.
  • I am thankful that there is a large ex-pat community in Mbale. We spend the most time with our mission team, but we have all sorts of other friends here. Its very diverse but there's a great chemistry and I think we all just enjoy fellowshipping together. 
  • I am thankful for all the good foods we can get here such as mangos, bananas, pineapple, and imported favorites like heinz ketchup and pringles. There are still a lot of things I miss but I know there are lots of people who wish they had as many choices as we do.
  • I am thankful for our home. It's spacious and comfortable, and I'm thankful that all the work on it is finished. God has given it to us for a purpose and we often have it filled with happy faces and voices. 
  • I am thankful for technology. How amazing is it that I can Skype into my old playgroup's halloween party? Or text pictures of the kids to my parents and in-laws every day? Keeping in touch has gotten a lot easier.
  • I am thankful that God has given us the opportunity to do something exciting for his kingdom.
  • I am thankful to have two happy, healthy, thriving kiddos, who also just happen to be the world's cutest and sweetest. :) And for a husband who loves the Lord and strives to be a good father. It's all about dad right now for Graham!
  • I am thankful for all the gifts we've received in the past 5 months from the states. We've gotten lots of packages and gifts from visitors. I don't think I can describe to you how exciting and meaningful it is!
  • I am thankful for our dogs and our guards. We lay our heads down every night in perfect peace knowing someone we trust is looking out for us. 
  • I am thankful for mercy. Nothing can compare to the power of Jesus' great name!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Molly's One Year Photo Shoot

My wonderful friend and teammate Jill took some pictures for us for Molly's birthday. I wanted to take some portraits and knew that running over to JC Penny's wouldn't be feasible this year! She wasn't super smiley but I love how they turned out! I hope you do too. Here are my favorites:

Molly Twelve Months!

We are so so proud of this girl! What a blessing she has been this past year. She has been a great addition to our family, we've loved having a baby girl. We're sad to see babyhood go, but we're excited to see her doing and learning new things. Here's what she's been up to this month:

We took Molly to the doctor in Kampala to get vaccines.

Molly is wearing 18-24 month clothes and size 5 diapers.

She is taking two naps and sleeping 12 hours at night.

She is nursing 4-5 times a day. I've found it really difficult to drop her feedings, so she's still nursing a lot. I'm hoping that incorporating cow's milk with will help with that. She eats 3 solid meals a day (mostly whatever we're eating) and 1 or 2 snacks.

Molly can stand on her own! She usually squats down after several seconds.

She has learned to wave bye bye.

She has started giving sloppy baby kisses. We love it!

She is saying mama and dada consistently.

She really doesn't want to be held by anyone but mama. She doesn't mind going to dad but she pretty cries if anyone else takes her! I guess we've entered the separation anxiety stage.

She is into EVERYTHING. I've forgotten what a big mess a mobile and curious baby can make.

She is not a big fan of bath time.

She laughs hysterically when Graham plays peek-a-boo with her.

She loves to play with her toy "smartphone" and holds it up to her ear.

When she holds a comb she rubs it on her head.

She loves to play outside with her brother.

She pretty much likes to do anything with her brother.

The past year has just flown by. We are looking forward to how Molly will change and grow in her second year. We just love her to pieces!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thoughts While Walking

Now that I have a nice new double stroller, the kids and I have been enjoying long walks through our neighborhood a few times a week. Here are some of my observations:

  • When you go walking with two mzungu children in a double stroller, you WILL be a public spectacle. I have almost caused some rubber-neckers to crash.
  • People here travel primarily by "boda boda." A boda is a motorcycle that is used as a taxi. They are absolutely everywhere and they don't follow any traffic laws. They are also very dangerous. For example, it's not unusual to see a woman sitting sidesaddle on the back of a boda holding a baby without a seat belt or helmet. 
  • Men use machetes to cut the grass and shrubs. So it's not unusual to see a man, or a child, walking down the street with a huge machete. I have certainly not gotten used to that. 
  • The flowers here are so abundant and unusual I often have to stop to enjoy them. Same with the birds. The birds also make very different sounds here. There is one that sounds exactly like a monkey.
  • Sunscreen is a must when you are this close to the equator.
  • Cars will often avoid potholes more than they avoid pedestrians. 
  • Avoiding potholes is an art. 
  • When walking, get ready to repeatedly hear, "Mzungu! Mzungu! How are you!"
  • When it rains everyday, things grow more than you can imagine. It would take nature no more than a few weeks to take back over any property here. 
  • The sight of the clouds rising over Mt. Wanale in the mornings is breath-taking. 
I am loving our walks. The chance to observe Uganda in the quiet of the morning is precious.