Tuesday, June 17, 2014

We love Mamaw!

Waiting on Mamaw
Judah waiting anxiously at the airport

She's here!
After waiting almost an hour, she finally arrived!

It's kind of become the custom for my mom to visit us on her birthday. It's always extra special because it happens to be Judah's birthday too! This was her first time visiting us in our new city. There were lots of new things to see and do. Of course the first thing she asked for was a cupcake shop so she could buy some cupcakes for Judah!

Cupcake store

Cupcakes
Fancy!

Of course when Mamaw comes there are gifts involved. Below is Sofia in a new dress (Thanks Lois!), Judah having Arabic breakfast with one of our local friends, showing off his new superhero hat and t-shirt and Sofia posing on the camel at the toy store with her new Elmo doll. 

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Things are a lot different in our new city. We have a car now! There are lots of parks, some with grass! (I really took grass for granted back in NC.) And because of the car we got to do fun things like, an impromptu visit to the ice cream shop!

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Funtimes around town

One day after class we went to check out an old fort dating back to the sixth century A.D. It was only about 105 degrees, but we had fun seeing something new. Hey, she said she likes the heat!

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Walking around the Fort

Next up was the weekend and Judah and Mom's birthdays! We had a small party at our apartment and then went bowling and to ride some rides at the mall. I think they had a pretty good birthday!

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Birthday cake


Bday2
Friends

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Judah riding his new scooter, birthday bowling and a carousel

One day after class we went to check out a new restaurant that we heard had great salads and it did not disappoint!

Lunch with mom
Lunchtime

Swimming with Mamaw
Swimming in our pool
Swimming with Mamaw

One of my mom's last days we went to the Sheikh Isa House which was built in the 19th century. It's the house of the current king's great-great-grandfather. I enjoyed seeing the old architecture and getting a glimpse of what royal life was like back then.

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The last few days flew by. We drove to the middle of the dessert to see the Tree of Life and just had a lot of quality time together.

Tree of Life
Tree of Life

Now that we've been here a few months we're starting to establish some favorite restaurants. Of of them is an Arabic restaurant that has family seating. A lot of Arab restaurants will have seating for men downstairs and family seating upstairs. These booths are segregated and curtained off so that women can remove their hijabs or head coverings and eat without any other men seeing their hair or faces. 

Family seating curtain
Mom in our family booth

Lunch at an Arabic restaurant

One last pic with Mamaw before she gets back on the airplane to leave.

Don't go Mamaw
Do you have to go Mamaw?

Come back soon!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sofia's 1st Birthday

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Birthday Girl!

Well, baby girl is one year old! She's lived in two countries and has visited 3 others. She's got quite the number of stamps in the ole passport. It blows my mind to think that just one year ago I was in the hospital giving birth.

First family picture
1 Year Ago

For her birthday party we had a little get together with some friends and Sofia celebrated with her very own cake. To decorate, I took advantage of my Pinterest board and actually made something instead of just pinning away and pretending something would manifest itself. I was able to find some cute fabric here and made a little banner, then I made some balls from tissue paper, but my favorite was Sofia's little tutu!  It was super easy to put together and made for some great pics. She looked so cute and girly in it.

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Decorations and tutu

With the 90 degree-plus heat though, the cake icing melted just going from the car to inside the building where we had the party! Of course, Sofia didn't mind, but it didn't make for the best picture. Oh well!

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Melted cake 
 
Sofia wasn't quite sure at first what to think about the cake, but as soon as she got a taste of the icing, she dove right in head first! I'm not sure how much cake she really ate, but she had icing dripping from her elbows by the end.

Eating Cake
Eating Cake

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Big brother with the birthday girl

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The Aftermath
 
Happy birthday Sofia! It's hard to believe you're one already. You've mastered crawling and have started to stand on your own. You even took a step the other day! You can say mama, doodah (Judah) and oo oo oooo (peek a boo) while doing the motions. You really enjoy bath time and always pretend to brush your hair when we're done. You're a real sweetheart that loves to cuddle and is always smiling. I'm looking forward to what the next year holds. 
 
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So happy
 
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One. Proud. Mama.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Family

Judah and me with my Aunts Phyllis and Kathy

One of the hardest things about living overseas is being away from family. Let's be honest, that's THE hardest thing. You can get used to not having certain things from back home, but family is not one of them. I come from a small family. My mom's an only child and my dad has two sisters. Had. Both of my aunts have passed away in the past 6 months. It's a hard thing to grasp really. Cancer. Evil, evil thing that it is. It's taken 3 of my immediate family members in the past few years, my aunts and my grandmother. Just last week it claimed my youngest aunt, Phyllis at the age of only 53.

Matching hats

I have some of the best memories of my aunt Phyllis. She always made me laugh and had a great sense of humor. Anytime someone commented on my southern accent I'd respond with, "You think this is something? You should hear my aunt Phyllis talk!" I remember going to her house when I was little, riding horses and playing outside. It was always so much fun. And boy did she love Judah and Sofia. Her face would just light up any time they were mentioned.

Great visit

I'm so so thankful that I was able to fly back home in February to visit her and bring along Sofia. It was the trip of a lifetime to be able to surprise her! We showed up at the door and she had no idea we were coming. It was awesome. She just kept saying, "How did this happen!? How did this happen!?" We had great conversations during those two weeks. One of the most important ones being about how much she loves Jesus as her Lord and Savior. What a balm to the soul knowing that someone you love will be embraced into the arms of Jesus when they leave this world and enter the next. So today, my amazing aunt Phyllis is in heaven with the ultimate Healer. Walking around a lake perhaps, with my Mamaw Houser and Great Grandma Haynes or maybe riding a horse. You've left a hole in our lives but you'll always be in our hearts.


I love you and I'll always miss you. You were an amazing aunt.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Christmas in Uganda Part 2


It was fun spending Christmas with family this year. Judah had a great time opening presents. It's so much fun watching your kids experience the holidays. 

Judah and his presents!

Sofie's first Christmas

Ready for Christmas Lunch

Coco and the grandkids

We had a lot of time to just hang out and relax which was a very welcome break from the stress of studying Arabic! Judah loved playing in the sandbox and Thomas and I had a good time hanging out with his parents. 


Skyping with family back in the States

One night I was lying with Sofia in the bed under the mosquito net and Judah walked into the room. I got these pictures of her face first, when she saw Judah and then her face after he walked into the room. I thought it was so cute to see her reaction! She was so excited!


Thomas's parents live close to Lake Victoria which is the largest lake in Africa and the largest tropical lake in the world. It was a welcome break from the desert to be around all that water!

Renee and Sofia by the lake

Lake Victoria

Brother and sister hanging out

After a week, we had more visitors and Susan came, along with her parents, then came Zeb, Mary and our nephew Christian. We all loved watching Christian and Judah play together! It has been almost two years since they've seen each other but they hit it off again like they were old friends.

Cousins

Woody and Buzz Lightyear

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Christmas in Uganda Part 1


We were so blessed this year to be able to visit Thomas's parents in Uganda! There was so much to see and do. Judah and Sofia had an awesome time on the swing set and playing with Babu and Coco!


We were all overwhelmed by the amount of green! Trees and grass everywhere! What IS this stuff!? 


Sofia got a bath in the warm kitchen every day. Sure beats bathing in our 40 degree kitchen sink! We were LOVING the warm weather and getting to wear summer clothes and sandals every day. 

Sofia getting a bath

One of the things we were looking forward to was shopping at the local carvers' shop. They are so talented and can make almost anything you ask for. Judah got an animal carving for his room.

Judah and his animal carving

Carvers

There was also a really cool Christmas market that I loved. African goods are all so uniquely handmade and those types of things really are my favorite. Even Judah had a good time and made a friend. 



Another highlight of the trip was a visit to the zoo. Judah really had a fun time seeing all the animals. It was nice to get out and walk around a bit and Sofia even rode in a stroller for the first time. 


We were able to visit with some old friends while we were there which is always fun.

Judah hearing a Bible story from Bob

Grass!

Backyard time with Babu

Lunchtime

Hanging in the stroller

Next up in part 2, Christmas!