Friday, December 24, 2010

Thanksgiving: Part Two

And of course, what's Thanksgiving if not followed by a family brunch on Friday morning...

Thanksgiving 2010: Part One

We spent our first Thanksgiving celebration with the Nolls and Iversons this year. We celebrated on a Wednesday, because these Iversons had to leave Thursday morning to celebrate the real TG day with Maggie's family in Savannah.

Sweet friend from Japan who joined us!
The meal was, perhaps, unconventional.
And nobody really ate much of my relish tray.
But Sara-Beth did a fantastic job on the turkey (so impressed) and we all enjoyed a feast of good food.
Jonathan and Annie collected branches from around the neighborhood to make a thanksgiving tree, not to be confused with the giving tree, and the kids wrote down things they were thankful for and tied them onto the tree.
Sweet times.
Thankful times.

Playing a Little Catch-up

Please bear with me for the sake of posterity and the memories of my children! We have huge gaps in the history of our lives.

First, back in Nov...October? I don't remember.
BaBa came!!

Then JiJi and Big Pop came!
Three generations of handsome men!
These two have a special connection, you know.
Annie is named for Big Pop's first wife, Anne Oliver, Jonathan's paternal grandmother.
He's coaxing her, wooing her, winning her, here.
Annie showing JiJi our Japan photo album
Lillian Emeth shows Big Pop her animal book

And then Annie and the Noll girls had a tea party.
It was fun.

More catch up coming your way soon!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Something I Love About Here

There is something I love about here: Everywhere we go, my children are treasured and adored. Now my kids are awesome, but by no means are they well-behaved these days. They are not quiet, they are not calm, they are a little xenophobic and they have been fairly disobedient since arriving here and at times, downright ornery. Nonetheless, they are treated like little queens wherever we go. They are my ticket to open hearts and my way out in cultural faux pas.

The other day, I was out running errands, and Jonathan needed to run to the internet office to get our internet up and running. He had taken a number of trips to the main office, but needed to go to the nearer, private office, where customers are not actually supposed to go. He had to bring the girls. The busy busy busy girls. He said that from the moment he walked in, he received first class service and the staff were actually taking turns entertaining our kids so that he could fill out paperwork! Amazing.

Then last night, we went to a really upscale mall to see the Christmas decorations. We have been so busy the past 2 1/2 weeks hunting for appliance deals and furniture sales to outfit our apartment, we sort of haven't done ANYTHING for Christmas (apart from our dear little fake tree.) We didn't even do advent, which I had so hoped to do this year. C'est la vie. So we went down to this mall with a giant Christmas tree and we were upstairs on the patio where all the restaurants are. There was a giant fountain area where water sprays up from the ground--think swanky looking splash pad, backlit, covered with a carousel type canopy. So of course, my kids start running through the thing because, seriously, it does look like a splash pad, and they get soaking wet and they are squealing and people are just smiling and laughing and taking pictures of my crazy babes. Then, while strolling around, we happened upon the swankiest restaurant of all. It had three waitstaff waiting out front, the door was sealed and covered so you couldn't see in and the patrons didn't have to look at the rest of the outside world. And most importantly, it was guarded by a life-sized, bronze lion. A lion, I tell you. The kids looked at the lion. They looked at me. They took off toward the beast. As I chased them, I noticed that the waitstaff dressed in tuxedos, were actually beckoning the girls closer. The head waiter smiled and invited them to come pet the lion. Then another waiter let the girls ride on it. RIDE ON THE LION. I couldn't believe how many people overlooked their loudness, their boisterous behavior, their shrieks. The entire night, everyone from wait staff to security guards to complete strangers smiled and cooed and blew kisses to my kids.

I really appreciate that.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gratitude #626-640

Give thanks to the LORD for He is good! His love endure forever!
626. We are here.
627. Kitchen counters that are under 3 feet tall.
628. Corn on our veggie supreme pizza
629. Floors that get gritty within 24 hours
630. The ability to laugh at these things
631. new sounds and new smells
632. Masala dosas with a friend this morning
633. A friend
634. An incredibly capable husband that makes me feel so safe.
635. A strong emotional barometer
636. Truth from my dear mother and father
637. My precious babes who make any place feel more like home.
638. A beautiful thing we bought, to go on our coming soon
639. Our precious, little, fake, stalky Christmas tree
640. New mercies each morning.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

what to say

I have no idea what to say. I admit, this happens to me but rarely. But it's true. I have no idea what to say.

My senses are overwhelmed. There has not been one quiet moment since we arrived. One blank space to look at. One odorless breath. The perpetual haze of smog and pollution cloud the air and leave me longing for fresh, open spaces. Horns, dogs, voices, music...nothing is quiet. Nothing is clean. My brain is mush, tired from making decisions about a home I have to build from nothing. I look in my suitcase and think, "Why did I bring that? I didn't need that. Why didn't I bring ______?"

We are here. We are finally here in this long-awaited place, our long-anticipated home. We are close to two weeks from Christmas and nothing could feel further from Christmas than here. We just bought a fake tree. Never, in my 28 years have I owned a fake tree. Sara-Beth, I am so sorry I laughed at your fake tree last year. That was really mean. I take it back. I wish you could see ours now. It is so...fake. It's sort of sad and stalky and fake. But, as Jonathan quickly reminds me, it is ours. And I guess that sort of redeems it. We're in the process of fluffing out the branches and soon there will be ornaments and decorations for hanging.

I would be lying if I said it wasn't hard. It's really really hard. It is so much harder than I thought it would be. I read your blogs. I read about cold weather and snow and live Christmas trees and family and beauty and I covet. We have been here a week and a day. I don't love it yet. I'm not at my worst, but I'm far from my best. I wonder when I will be able to create again and cook again and make our home feel like home or something warm.

I'm sorry for this downer of a post. I meant to do a top ten with funny pictures and a gratitude list. I meant to tell you about how amazing it is to drive or ride in a rick-shaw. I meant to tell you about how Lily stepped on a rusty nail and we had to take her in for a tetanus shot and we found an amazing pediatrician. I meant to talk about the colors and the life and the beauty. But for now, this is all I got. I don't know what to say.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ode to the Floater

Dearest Floater, in my cup
You are a nasty thing.
You came from someone else's mouth
and in my drink you're floating.

You look a bit like flotsam,
And maybe jetsam too.
Sometimes you're bits of peanut butter toast,
Or cheese, or fruit or stew.

When little babies want a sip
Of mommy's yummy drink,
We softer mommies cannot help
But give in, with a wink.

Because we know that learning mouths
To the beverage are returning
that which they tried hard to imbibe,
And thus, leave floaters churning.

Perhaps because these floating bits
Come from my darling girl,
they do become less offensive
when in my drink they swirl.

I see now standards for my fare
and for my drink do lower.
For only when from my sweet babes mouth
would I ever drink a floater.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Is It About Tears?

I've been a crier all my life. I cry easily and with gusto. I embrace my tears. I embrace most of my emotions, for that matter. Nobody ever accuses me of stuffing my feelings. Sometimes, it is to my I often tell Annie, "You must use self-control!" Yet there's something so refreshing about a good cry, like the crying that accompanies the ache rising irrepressibly in your throat and leaves your limbs filled with warmth and flows unstoppably from your tear ducts. Well, I had one of those on Sunday. And again today. And I tell you, when words will not do, when feelings rise to overflowing, when joy and fear and sorrow and longing and regretting all mingle together at once and fill your heart to bursting, sometimes, tears are all that will suffice to say what you are feeling. Pure, honest, simple, uncontrollable tears. So make no apologies for your tears! Be not embarrassed at the raw vulnerability that stands there naked as they fall. Simply say, "My cup runs over. What else can I do?"

While we are the only animal on earth that certainly sheds emotional tears, some animals have been said to cry from grief or pain. Elephants, for example, "which are sensitive and highly intelligent animals with a [sophisticated] social structure have been observed crying." In fact, the keepers of the Indian elephants at the London zoo maintain that the animals shed "tears from sorrow." (here) I think I am going to get along well with the Indian elephants.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Halloween 2010

Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong wait and see...
Someday we'll find it,
The rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.