Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Our Anniversary in Numbers

Today, Kevin and I celebrated our 9 year wedding anniversary. So I thought I would give everyone some fun facts on us.

Date night photo
18...the number of years Kevin and I have known each other. We met late July 1997 at band camp.
12...the number of years Kevin and I have been a couple. We began dating late July 2003.
11...the number of profession titles Kevin and I have held between the two of us since getting married (this does not include person titles like spouse, mom, etc.).
10...the number of countries Kevin and I have visited together (U.S., Canada, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, U.K., Belgium, Turkey, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Italy, and France)
9...the number of years Kevin and I have been married.
8...the record number of days Kevin has gone without shaving, which is why he now has a beard. Kevin forgot to pack his razor.
7...the number of address where we have lived over the years-6 of which have been in the last 4.
6...the number of wedding rings Kevin and I have owned over the years. I am on my original two/set and Kevin is on number 4. What can he say? Tungsten is not as durable as they claim!
5...the number of times we went on short term mission trips to the Dominican Republic (and once to Costa Rica but 6 was filled).
4...the number of years we have been full time missionaries with MAF.
3...the number of vacations Kevin and I have taken together or as a family (our honeymoon and two trips with our kids).
2...the number of children we have.
1...the number of nights we have spent away from our child(ren). Sister slept at Mimi's for Brother's birth, so that counts!
0...the number of birthdays our children have celebrated in the U.S.

And here's to many more years and numbers added to the list!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Motherhood Moments #6

Sometimes motherhood looks like this...
What's so special about a big pile of laundry? Well, when we start our washing machine, it locks the door. So, when we lose electricity, our laundry is locked. I cannot open the door to hand wash them. I must wait until the electricity returns in order to continue, and our generator is not strong enough to support our machine. What you are looking at is one load of laundry that was started at 6 AM and the electricity cut soon after. It is now 6 PM and I am waiting anxiously for the electricity to return with two more loads just from that day. I have been known to get up in the middle of the night when the electricity returns to continue washing laundry. Yes, I have been that desperate!

Friday, July 24, 2015

"New" Family Welcome

Last Sunday afternoon, all MAF families in Kinshasa got together for a mini BBQ to welcome the newest addition to our clan (minus one family who is in the USA on furlough). The Lind family has returned! They were here roughly two years ago as short term missionaries and fell in love with the Congo. So when their term was up, they went back home to fund-raise so they could return and completed their time in language school. We feel so blessed to have them back here, including all of their kiddos! It felt wonderful to all be together again and see all the little kids that are around to play together. Here are some photos of the day and lots of links to the other families and their blogs or MAF pages. Also note that I did not take all of the photos seen, but another MAF mama helped to pick up my slack!
Lisa and her three kids (Source: Jocelyn Frey)

Elijah (Source: Jocelyn Frey)

Baby boy just chilling on the porch

Lovely Nancy (Source: Jocelyn Frey)

Miss Emily holding baby Joel (Source: Jocelyn Frey)

Little Axel (Source: Jocelyn Frey)

Waiting on the local charcoal to heat up

Some of the kids playing in the "sand" box (Source: Jocelyn Frey)

Rod and Valerie (Source: Jocelyn Frey)

The whole crew, silly faces and all! (12 kids & 12 adults)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Motherhood Moments #5

Sometimes motherhood looks like this...
Sitting on the floor watching the boy explore and play peek-a-boo. I love simple days like this where the house is a mess and all I do is enjoy what God has placed before me. With a never-ending "to do" list, it is a constant (internal) struggle for me to sit instead of keeping myself in constant motion all the time.

The other day when Kevin and I were doing our devotionals, he found this verse and it immediately struck a cord with me:
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22
Sometimes, sitting on the floor enjoying those baby blues staring back up at me is the perfect way to have a more cheerful heart!

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Bane of my Existence*

*Obviously the following blog is going to talk about something that is "harmful" to me, but I am most likely exaggerating about its ability to cause ruin or death.

There is a terror in the Congo. This predator strikes during the daytime unnoticed until it is too late. It matters not how much I prepare myself, because it always finds me. (*Insert shrieking violin noises*). What is this horror? BLACK FLIES.

These little buggers travel in small swarms, hunting for innocent bystanders, feeding on the blood of their host...ME! It does not matter how much bug spray I use, if I travel outside my house, I must wear protection. It can be 105 degrees outside and I must wear pants, socks, long sleeves, repellent (with Deet and/or picaridin), and constantly stay in active motion to prevent them from landing on me... although the repellent really doesn't deter them, it's just used for placebo to make me feel like I've done something to thwart their sinister plans of feasting upon me for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Yes, that is me being devoured by the vicious
leech, all in the name of bloggery/photography 
These little vampires aren't kind. Not one bit. When they bite, you feel their unpleasant clamp. And when they are done, they leave you with a bright big welt that itches. If you accidentally touch it, the itchy sensation gets worse and will continue to itch for up to a week!
These little nightmare inducing fiends are everywhere here. They breed near water and unfortunately for us, we are located near the Congo River. They can travel miles away from where they breed and we happen to be on their way to and from their breeding grounds.
And of course, these monsters make me feel like a terrible mom. Kids need to go outside and enjoy life. But every time we go outdoors, the bloodsuckers grab hold and take a bite or ten. My poor babies! Thus, I have declared war on these beasts! I will not rest until they have ceased to be...or until I can sweet talk the kids into going back indoors to watch a movie while I apply more benadryl.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Motherhood Moments #4

Sometimes motherhood looks like this...
I often ask myself why I don't work out often enough and then I try to work out and I quickly remember why...clingy toddlers. Do you know how hard it is to transition from Chaturanga to upward dog with a toddler on your back? No? In this photo I am attempting a down dog with a high leg but little girl is riding the leg that needs to go up. She knows how to turn basic yoga into a Crossfit workout!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Independence Day Celebration

We, along with the other American expats, were invited to celebrate the American Independence Day (4th of July) at the American Ambassador's home this year. It was quite a celebration! There was a parade of children where all the kids lined up and walked down the road that was blocked for the excursion, there was American food (hot dogs and hamburgers with soda), there were games, there were bouncy slides, and there were friends. I hope you enjoy the photos of our fun afternoon.
All the little girls were excited to hold
hands and walk the parade together

Posing in front of the Congolese River


Candy floss

Mini Putt-Putt

Ring Toss fun

Soda bottle bowling

Bright eyes enjoyed the attention

Monday, July 6, 2015

Motherhood Moments #3

Here we are on week 3 of Motherhood Moments. In case you missed week 1 or week 2, just click on the highlighted week to catch up.

Sometimes motherhood looks like this...
Boiling water for baths. During dry season there is no rain for a few months (June - September). Because we don't have rain, we tend to have less water flowing from our taps. Often, there is no water coming out of our faucets upstairs because there is no water pressure. So, I have to fill up buckets/pails/pots/pans of water from the kitchen sink and boil it for bath water for the kids and then carry it upstairs for their bath. Lucky for me, they only bathe once or twice a week! And yes, the water is not clear. We do not have the privilege of having treated water (fluoride, chlorine, etc.), thus our water is filled with pollutants, dirt and sediment, rust, and parasites. This is why we do not drink the tap water and use only filtered water for cooking, brushing our teeth, and drinking.

Which is why every morning, motherhood looks like this...
I have to fill up our bottles every morning or we will get behind. Since it is so hot and humid here, we tend to drink on average 3L per person, or two of the bottles in the photo above. Phew!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Belated Birthday Photos

So this busy mama forgot to post our little girl's 3rd birthday party photos! When we got back from vacation, we had a party so that we could celebrate with all of her friends (who were here and not on vacation themselves). At one point we had a 7 girls and 6 boys all here to celebrate. We decided on a simple "Frozen" themed party where we watched the movie and ate popcorn. We also decorated cookies, had blue jell-o jigglers, and there was even some cake. It was definitely a blast for all the kids. Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure.

Movie, popcorn, and Jell-O

Princess tiara and cards, all handmade by friends

The best part!

YAY! Aunt B's card

This girl loves cards!

Dr. Spann can now legally practice in Africa

Movie break to play Legos

Someone is ready to throw snowballs!