Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Slow but steady

Moses is definitely settling into family life. He loves saying "Amari!" at night when we put him to bed (I love you!) and has started volunteering hugs. He has started giving full "teeth-smiles" (as I call them) - true joy and delight smiles, not just "yeah, I'm pretty happy" smiles. (He's always been a happy kiddo but there's definitely more freedom in him now to just be a kid who is having fun.)

The kids have been fighting more but also more interested in each other.

But one thing has become apparent: he has never been taught to respect, listen to, or obey women. In fact, in front of his friends, my voice could simply be the wind in his hair... he simply ignores me. This means that we haven't spent time at Home of Love yet as a family (he sees his friends daily at school still). And it means that Daddy has to stay on top of his game when he's home to help Moses learn to respect me and obey me. It also means that I have to be the mommy with a lot of "no's" and discipline...

But overall, we're doing great! It's fun to see the family knitting together in such a slowly-but-surely manner. By the time the baby is born in September, we will hopefully be bonded enough that the new person in the family will not completely throw everyone off... just slightly throw everyone off.. ;-P

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Moses' first pool day and... a day in Gulu

Yesterday, through a fog of lack sleep and recovering from illness, we were able to have a fun family day together. Josh was committed to having a family day. So I called up my friend, Emilie, who knows everything that there is to know about Gulu: "what should we do for a family-fun day?"

Sure, enough, she knew of a hotel (actually quite near our school) that we hadn't seen yet that had a pool where the kids could swim for cheap (around $1 each)! AND, on top of that, they were going already and meeting up with some friends that we had been trying to get together with and had been thwarted by illnesses.

So, Moses got his first pool experience. He was quite intimidated at first by the vast expanse of water in front of him. "Imito tuko i pii?" (Do you want to play in the water?) "NO!"

But he figured it out and, with the patient help of Daddy, he really enjoyed playing in the water! It reminded me of Gracie's first pool experience - within DAYS of her joining our family nearly 6 years ago, we went to a pool in Liberia.

(Noah isn't as enamored with water as his sisters have always been - spends a lot of time walking around the pool.)

There is also a trampoline (not my favorite thing in the world, as a doctor but the kids were very cautious). It was so fun to see Moses, quiet and thoughtful, but not shy, eagerly greeting everyone, even in a sea of new experiences.

My friend, Emilie, graciously invited us to lunch afterwards - what a blessing to NOT have a cook lunch for a hungry crowd! THEN, she and her sister offered to keep the children for us for the afternoon. WHAT?!

So, as Emilie and her sister cared for 7 children including her newborn, our special needs big girl, and an Acholi-speaking child new to being in a family... Josh and I got a bunch of errands done that really need to be done WITHOUT children in the car.

What kind of errands do we run when we have a free afternoon? We finally bought my new foot pedal sewing machine from a lady in the market - I had asked a seamstress who I usually buy fabric and small bags from in the market about buying a sewing machine (my mother's day present). She had a friend who wanted to sell a brand new machine because she needed school fees for her children (due every term). After some delays of a few weeks, we found her friend at the other market, ready to sell us the machine and explain it to me. Her eyes lit up when I said "Lubanga meti gum" (doubt I spelled that right, sorry! Means the Lord bless you!) and we had a common connection.

Then had to find the thread shop in the back of a market that I don't go to, then we went to our usual market to buy clay pots from our basket guy so Josh can plant herbs. We bought a bunch of produce for the coming week since Josh is going to Kampala again and I'll be flying solo with no vehicle for a few days and another huge bunch of bananas to feed our banana-loving children. Every stop includes lengthy greetings and conversations and language learning. And in the market, there's no one-stop-shopping.

Next we tried to get a metal rod that we had bought last week cut down to the dimension that we actually had asked for last week so that it would fit in the bathroom as a shower curtain rod. Instead of cutting it, the man asked Josh to go buy him a hack-saw blade and then pay him to cut it... ummm... no, but thank you for reminding Josh that he has a hacksaw frame and just needs the blade! So then, to the intersection in the north of town where all the hardware is (in stands along that intersection). Buy the hacksaw blade and two flimsy bamboo shelves that I've been wanting for the soon-to-be guest room (which will start having occupant(s) on Wednesday for the next many months!).

Then, to a coffee shop - yes, there are two coffee shops in town! I love the lemonade at the one, so we went to that coffee shop and order sandwiches too (they had bacon!) for an early dinner. We talked ministry-stuff the whole time (heavy on our minds and we're trying to not talk exclusively ministry-stuff over dinner with the children) and crafted a little plan for our "summer."

By then Emilie was working on feeding our kids at her house (amazing!) and couldn't get Gracie to eat (not a surprise - she's been finicky lately). So, we wrapped up, bought two trays of eggs and a box of milk (24 500ml bags of processed milk as a back-up for when I miss the milk man or the milk turns sour prematurely). We found the kids AND adults in fine condition at Emilie's house and worked on getting them home.

What a day!

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