Friday, October 09, 2015

Is this thing on?

Mentally drafted blog posts have been accumulating since my feet hit the African ground.  Every moment, in the first two months, was emotionally charged.  No much just happened.  Experiences were thrilling, exhausting, unbelievable, delicious, dirty, frustrating, hysterical, etc.  And the memories are already a bit hazy.  I'm pretty sure Instagram killed blogs so my goal is low readership and a killer bound book of experiences at the end of all this.

Most people, myself included, love to give advice.  If your filters are set right, you can catch the good stuff and forget all the illogical, presumptive and condescending things people say.  Jason's advice from the beginning was to keep my expectations low.  Redundant? Sure. But so important because #1 Jason knows me and #2 he's spent some time in Africa.  With practically subterranean expectations in place, I have been pleasantly surprised at (almost) every turn.  Driving is manageable and you can park anywhere-- half sidewalk/half road (pictured), facing against traffic, in the median or completely on the sidewalk. After spending a portion of every day for the last 2 years considering NYC's alternate side regulations, I'm giddy!  Pleasant surprise #2 we can escape Maputo and visit South Africa's biggest safari park or Swaziland's lush, green, mountains or pristine beaches in a 3 hour drive.  And that's about how long I can stand to be in the car with Cynthia.  If you know the me, you know the importance of food is ingrained in my DNA.  And in Maputo, grocery stores are well-stocked, fruit stands are abundant, and the restaurants are fantastic (especially if you like seafood).  We even found a local CSA that delivers vegetables to the door.

Keeping a sense of humor is also good advice.  We spent our first month in an old temporary house.  Ant carpet and 3'' spiders aside, routine maintenance issues like leaky faucets were a headache. Water conservation is important to me but extra important in a country where having fresh water is a major issue (!).  On an outside leak, we (the guard and I) used a large rock to apply pressure and hold off the steady trickle.  After a few days, I could balance that rock perfectly to stop the leak.  After a proper evaluation by the fix-it-men ("It's broken."), they returned with the parts (a faucet) and fixed the sink.  Hooray!  First time I used it, I was covered in freezing cold water.  The faucet, approximately three inches too short, didn't come close to reaching into the sink.  Instead water hit the backsplash and sprayed all over me.  So ridiculous, it has to be funny (or we'd be insane because in 4 short months I have a long list of very similar experiences).

Mostly we love it here.  Really.  Come visit and we'll prove it!

Coming up... nossa casa, how our babies are adjusting, buying my headlight back, being on house arrest and the egg swiper.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

ABCs of a breakdown.

after missing the park avenue tree lighting (sniff, sniff, never been) i committed to pack in as many christmas outings as possible. 
so this week, post st. lucia & pre utah, i dragged the babies all over the city.  it was a blast...but that may have had more to do with the company. 

today we made our final pilgrimage.  
the kris kringle of abc carpet and home, where i love everything & can afford nothing.
after the fiasco at santaland, i thought my kids deserved another opportunity to cuddle up to a strange man in a red (deep velvety maroon, actually) suit & whisper what they want for christmas.  hah.  hindsight.
 a strong start. despite fierce colds coming on & fierce winds, we were on time and everyone was happy.
a line < 30 minutes = fantastic.  but then there was the matter of this dinosaur display which my children (anton) were obsessed with getting to. 
i could not for the life of me get him obsess about staying in line?  
 then there was the flash / no flash question. 
i desperately need to learn how to use my camera.  
i didn't want to be overexposed but these kiddies don't do the "still" thing well.
 finally a combination of not feeling well, wanting the dinosaurs and NOT wanting santa, anton melted down.  stella wouldn't get anywhere near the guy.
cue photo op.
peace on earth was restored to all by ryan.  
thank you for teaching anton about triceratops (sounds a lot like "motorcycle" and "apple") and basically watching him for me all morning.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

i adore sesame street musical collaborations.  
 this is one of my favorites-- the message and the catchy tune.
anton always bobs and claps along.
hope it makes you happy too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

coming home.

my sister planned a killer family holiday in st. lucia.  everyone should have a sister like noelle.  i'll tell you, that girl is a doer. 
i took this picture. which speaks to the islands' natural beauty
the week was amazing--rainforests, snorkeling, private beaches, etc. on saturday we swam all morning, flew all evening and finally landed around midnight.  the babies snoozed (thank goodness but how do you get two sleeping toddlers and ALL. THAT.  STUFF.  off the plane).  
so here we are.   home.  
i love to travel.  i just hate getting there.  and getting back.  
and getting back to real life.  
i have a mountain of laundry to do.  actually, make that a mountain range.  
i've have to forgo Christmas cards this year.  i don't want to but i have to be realistic or get a personal assistant for the week.

i'll focus on this loveliness instead.
Jason & I made chocolate at the Rabot Estate.  Specifically Jason ground like a demon to turn his cocoa nibs into liquid to make chocolate while I took pictures and got scolded for chatting.  
St. Lucia's version of Cinque Terre.
Our boy knows how to unwind. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

potty training

we went for it. stella's been ready to ditch the diapers for months but i wasn't.  
the idea of my smaller toddler loose in a public restroom while i helped my bigger toddler use the potty was scary. as was the thought of finding a restroom in this beautiful city that can accomodate a massive double stroller. was i supposed to leave the stroller outside? and what if Anton was asleep in it?  
then i thought i had missed the magic window of BIG GIRL excitement. 
and i did (a little) but window or not, stella is buying into our* excitement (that, or the m&ms) and figuring it out.   

potty training isn't really what this post is about. today was day1 and i'm not silly enough to dispense advice, act like i know what i'm doing, or say something ridiculous like, "it went so well."  i just couldn't think of a better title @2a.m.  
(and don't even let me get started on how i'll be paying for this late nighter tomorrow 
and possibly for the rest of the week).  
 what i am slowly getting to is how my amazing, supportive family took Anton for 36 hours so i could spend the entire day with stella. thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! "just mom & stella" she kept saying. that doesn't happen often. 
{yes, i know how blessed i am to have family close} 

stella & i built houses for pretend worm with signage for visitors, made a rainbow cake, and practiced using vacuum suction to move dolls around.  
we cleaned out the car.
we drank chocolate milk and watched for dogs.
we played memory. we painted.  
and we read.     
the best part?  we did it all at a leisurely stella's pace. 
*thanks Angelique and Mom, and Matt and Noelle.  
when we move to east of nowhere will you come too?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


- i don't want to start packing (we leave for utah tomorrow).
- people have been begging for more pictures of Anton (not true).
- haley miller captures a whole lot of personality in an hour
(she's good. really good.)
- every mom thinks her children are the most beautiful beings to walk the earth
(myself included.)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Anton Overload (18 month catch up)

my boy. 12 months ago.
 Anton 567 days old.  Or 81 weeks.  Or 18 months and 20 days.  
In other words, not a baby anymore (sniff, sniff).  
Today after conking out in the stroller ~8 minutes after refusing to nap, I scooped him up to lay him on my bed (because he just sleeps soooo well propped in our pillows).  As I picked him up, he wrapped his arms around my neck, held tight and nuzzled in.  My heart immediately turned to a puddle of love sauce and my eyes got watery.  That's our boy.  A lover.  
18 months--to the day.
How can I capture Anton's affectionate, easy going* nature in a blog post? 
Here are a few of my favorite things, for the record books.  
You know, before I forget.... 
- Anton is ALWAYS dancing.  He signs and says "moh" to keep music going.  He even dances along Stella's scream-singing which cracks me up.  With proper space, he side skips around swinging his arms up and down (think of the monkeys).  Usually he is without proper space and just bobs to the street beats and grocery stores tunes in the stroller.
- His smile, dimples and curly hair melt my heart.  Every single expression is 100% precious.  (I'm his mom so it's legal for me to make declarations like that).  See what I mean?
Love.  Photos by the talented Haley Miller
- The high pitched "uh-huh" he uses for yes, does not match his stocky build.  He continues to tip the charts at 35.5 inches and 33 lbs.
- Beaded necklaces are his favorite accessory.  He likes to have one (or three) on at all times.
- New situations are not his cup of tea.  For that matter, neither are new people.  We went to a neighborhood story time and while his sister danced around the room, Anton looked skeptical and alternated between clinging to my neck and sitting in my lap (squished up against me).  He kept whispering bye-bye and reaching for my bag, as if to say, "Get your stuff, we're leaving."
- Anton loves anything related to balls.  Particularly ba-ba-ball (basketball) which he chants as we approach or pass any playground.  He is also obsessed with garbage and fire and scooters.  Such a boy.
minutes before his first hair cut.
- He continues to adore Stella.  And as he frustrates her less with accidental demolitions, she's wanting him to participate in her games more.  I melt when I hear, "Come on, Anton." or "Have you seen Corduroy, Anton?" or "Come get snack, Baby Brother."
- Other than Greek yogurt and meatballs, he generally prefers a vegetarian diet. His favorites include avocados, blackberries, peaches, mashed cauliflower and minestrone soup. 
- He is tickled by his new found communication skills and must say >100 words.  The general public (and close friends and family) can understanding about 5% of those words.  We're working on articulation.  I die every time he says sweatshirt.  He knows body parts, clothes, animal sounds, food items, and modes of transportation.  The stuff that matters in life.  He smiles, nods, and beams in general when I acknowledge understanding what he said. 
- Without a bottle at 4a.m, he wakes for the day at 5:30.  So...he gets a bottle at 4a.m.  Naps are touchy so I let him fall asleep in the stroller or watching t.v. on my bed.  That goes against the advice of every baby book on my shelf but I don't care because usually my kids nap together for 2.5-3 hours.  And that keeps this mama sane.
sleeping beauty.
I can't pretend life has been easy.  Two babies in twelve months has meant a lot of crazy days.  Days where dirty dishes and laundry pile high.  Days that end with all of us in tears (usually not Jason).  Days where I've had to remind myself that people (lots of people) plan to have babies a year apart.
Even so, trying to imagine life without this little boy and that happy smile makes me tremendously sad.  I am beyond blessed to be Anton's mom, to hold his hand during this wonderful and fleeting stage, and I know he is exactly what our little family needed.