Sunday, February 23, 2014

Funny Things

  • The other day when Graham was in the bathtub he said, "hey mom! My bottom burped." Yeah, it was really funny.
  • Molly's new word is "uh oh." She says it all the time, all day long.
  • I dreamt last night that I was in the produce isle of an American supermarket. I lovingly picked out blueberries, raspberries, and scowled at the pineapple. I guess my body is missing the fruits I can't get!
  • Molly loves to push her baby doll stroller around the house. But instead of a baby doll, she almost always has her sippy cup sitting in the seat.
  • Right now Graham is accidentally saying 'stink' instead of 'think.' For example: "I stink I'll go play trains." Or, "I stink Baby Molly's tired and needs to lay down." He often says that when she starts to irritate him.
  • Molly has these really cute Minnie Mouse gum boots her Nonnie sent. They don't fit right now because her calves are too chubby for them to be pulled all the way up! I LOVE her sweet baby fat, especially since I know it may not be around much longer.
  • Graham continues to be extra tall for his age. At a meeting last weekend one of our friends asked another friend who was meeting us for the first time, "Hey, how old do you think that kid is?" He replied, "six." When our friend started laughing he said, "what?? Seven??." Nope, he's still 3 years old!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Big Girl

The past two weeks have been really big for Molly. First of all, she has gone from walking some/crawling some to walking everywhere all the time/obsessed with walking. Second of all, I stopped nursing her about a week ago at 14, almost 15 months old. 

My very clingy momma's girl now seems to have gained new independence. She has been walking and exploring like crazy, not even glancing back to see if I'm still nearby. Can this be my baby??

Just a month ago I was lamenting to my friends about the fact that I can't even walk out of the room without her losing it. I've gained a little of the independence from her I was seeking, and I feel...a bit sad. She's transitioning from baby to toddler and it's so bittersweet.

I'm so beyond proud of my curly-headed little tot. Everyone's always telling me how adorable it is to see her chubby legs and feet toddling around...and I must say I agree! Could be one of the cutest thing I've ever seen, for sure. 

Dear Lord thank you for this baby. Thank you that I was able to nurse her so long. Thank you that she is happy and healthy. Give me wisdom to start teaching her and disciplining her. Help me to lean on you to make good choices. Thank you for her golden curls and her chubby toes and her laugh. I'm so thankful!

Friday, February 14, 2014


Yesterday we took a day trip with some friends to Karamoja. We have a friend named Bob who lives there. He did the well drilling for LIU recently. He has lived in Karamoja for 15 years. I have to say that traveling to Karamoja is like traveling to another world. It was a 3 hour drive on the worst roads I have ever seen. And dry season is the best time of year to go, I can't imagine the shape of those roads in rainy season! 

The kids did really well. Graham got car sick on the way over, and Molly cried some on the way back. But for the most part, they were troopers.

We were on the lookout for animals the whole way, but the only animal of interest that we saw was a crested crane.

We felt like we had traveled back in time. The Karamajong for the most part live in mud huts and dress more traditionally.

There were beautiful hills and mountains, and the weather was much cooler.

This is Bob's house. He built it himself. There was a loft in his courtyard that Graham really enjoyed playing on. The kids and I stayed here while the others ate lunch with Bob and his workers. Molly needed to take a nap.

The kids both had fun walking around Bob's property and checking out his equipment.

Pictures really can't do these roads justice. But here you can see our car sitting in a pothole so big that you can no longer see our wheels. We had to crawl over these roads for a good chunk of the drive. We really enjoyed seeing Karamoja, but I don't know that we would ever take the kids on this trip again. It was a long trip for one day!

But I have to say we have so much respect for our friend Bob. He has been working and doing ministry in Uganda for a long, long time. What a valuable source of wisdom for us. And he was so kind to show us hospitality even though his wife and 5 children weren't home. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Picture Tour

The kids and I are home alone this weekend. Chad is in Kampala for a wedding and to pick some people up at the airport. We haven't really had much going on, so I thought it would be fun to take some pictures of some of our favorite places around town for you to see.

Mount Elgon Hotel. This is probably my favorite place in Mbale, aside from our home. We come here often to go swimming and eat out. The people are really friendly, the food is decent, and the views are spectacular. And it's just so peaceful.

This is the truck we are driving today. It belongs to our mission team, and whoever needs it drives it. We have it this weekend since Chad has our car in Kampala.

The Post Office. We stop here to check our box once a week.

Mbale Resort Cafe. We like to come here occasionally for smoothies. I like to take my mentoring group here sometimes for a treat. We've heard rumor of a new coffee shop coming to town...we'll see.

Delicious Dishes. This is our other favorite place to eat in Mbale. It's really surprising that we can get such good Indian food here. We like to get take-out (or "take-away" as they say here) from DD occasionally on the weekends.

Bam. This is one of the grocery stores we like to shop at. I couldn't get a good picture because they were so busy this morning, but in the middle of the picture you can see a small sign that says BAM.

Mbale Church of Christ.

LIU's Temporary Campus. This is where Chad works. LIU is right now renting space from Messiah Theological Institute. MTI is a pastor training school that is overseen by our mission.

Uchumi. This grocery store is brand new. We are pretty excited to have such a big, nice, grocery store in town. They have not yet stocked their meat and dairy freezers, but we have still enjoyed shopping there.

Clock-tower. This clock-tower (there are several in town) sits in the middle of Mbale's biggest intersection. All (or most) intersections in Uganda are roundabouts. Uganda was a British colony so all the infrastructure is British.

The Thatch Gardens. This is one place in Mbale that we wish wasn't here. This is Mbale's most popular night club, and it's really close to our house. On the weekend we can hear their music pumping deep into the night. We've gotten used to it, and with our fans on it's not too bad.

Our gate. Every house (at least in our neighborhood) has it's own compound (yard) surrounded by a fence or wall with a single gate for entry. To get in you drive up to the gate and honk, then the guard (our house is guarded 24 hours a day) opens the gate. Having guards is really important in Mbale because unfortunately there is a lot of theft. Our guards also maintain our compound.

Our street. It's still quite green even though we're right in the middle of dry season.

Our house. We love our house. I'm planning to take pictures of the inside soon, now that I have finished decorating, etc. God really blessed us with a good house.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

From Scratch

I'll always remember a quote from one of my favorite books Little Women: "necessity is the mother of invention." Or something like that. And it is indeed true! Now that I am learning to do without many things I could once buy, my housekeeper and I have concocted ways of making things ourselves. Here are a few of our favorites:

Chocolate Syrup
1 1/2 c water
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c cocoa
1 dash of salt
1 t vanilla

Combine water, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a saucepan. Whisk together on low heat until mixture thickens and begins to simmer. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

The milk tastes really different here and Graham won't drink it. On a trip to Kampala I found and bought (at a ridiculous price) a bottle of Hershey's chocolate syrup and started making him chocolate milk everyday. When it ran out I found this recipe and filled the Hershey's bottle back up so he can still have his daily milk.

Pancake Syrup
1 3/4 c white sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 c water
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t maple flavoring

Combine sugars and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for 1 minute. Cool slightly. Add vanilla and maple flavoring. Cover saucepan for a few minutes as syrup cooks to melt down crystals.

You can *usually* buy pancake syrup here in Mbale. But it's about $6.00 per bottle. I got this recipe from a great cookbook called From One Kitchen to Another that was compiled by east African missionary wives. You do have to get the maple flavoring from the US though. I've found that this recipe tastes just like the store-bought kind.

6 c tomatoes with juice, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
6 chilies, chopped
4 T vinegar
4 t garlic salt
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 T sugar
2 T salt
2 t black pepper
1 t ground corriander
1 T cumin
1/2 chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients together and simmer over low heat until veggies are tender.

I LOVE THIS RECIPE. I got it from my friend Jill and the first time Betty made it I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, our house smelled so good. Mexican is one type of food that we can do really well here in Uganda, and this salsa is the icing on the cake for me. 

I would love to hear any of your "from scratch" recipes you've used and love!

Book Reviews

Recently I've read some books that have gotten rave reviews. They are:

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

This was such a good book. It's about a young woman who goes to work as a companion for a quadriplegic man. It's a sad and inspiring love story that really makes you think. I'm still thinking about it! The characters have a lot of depth. The ending took me by surprise and I couldn't decide if I liked it or not. I finished this book in less than two days. I couldn't seem to stop! I definitely recommend it.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

This was also a good book! It's about a wife and mother who unexpectedly finds a letter written by her husband. She is only supposed to open it in the event of his death. But she does open it, and her life is never the same. I would call this book a mystery. It's not a murder mystery that the characters are trying to solve, but rather a mystery for the reader to solve. This book surprised me more than once, and again, I couldn't put it down. Definitely a great read for anyone who loves reading.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This was by far the saddest book I've ever read. It was a beautiful, inspiring story...but if you read it, bring the kleenex. This is a book about a teenage girl who is dying of terminal cancer. Against all odds, she finds her soul mate in a cancer survivor she meets in a support group. They have an unmistakable chemistry from the beginning, but she holds back for a long time out of fear of hurting him. They don't have much time together, but their love is honest and deep. I'm still surprised that this book was written by a man. He captures this sweet love story and while it is sad, it is also funny and touching.