Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wow, that is ugly and that, is scary looking...

I have been sewing quiet a bit lately. Smocks for Sammys preschool class, capes for friends, tunics for Abby and one SUPER ugly dress for Abby. I don't know what went wrong, the fabric by itself was cute, but when all put together I put it on her and nearly gagged. I should have taken a picture but it was too hideous to leave her sitting in so off it went and into the donation pile, for some poor unsuspecting local child to wear. I also wanted to make something to keep Abby's door open. It automatically swings closed and that drives me nuts. I had seen THIS guy but didn't want to pay for him and wait for it to get shipped here so I gathered some remnant fabric and went to town. When I showed Chris the final product his response was classic "Oh that is perfect! She will be to terrified to ever leave her room with that guy guarding the door." HAAAA! I thought it was scary, but cute at the same time, he sort of has "angry eyes"
Well it keeps the door open anyway but Abby does eye it rather warily whenever the boys pick it up to play with it
I feel awful because the other day a mosquito got INSIDE her bed net and "hid" (I don't think they have the actual intelligence to hide, but I didn't see it) in her bumper pad. When I went in to get her I almost started crying, then when Che Che squashed the bug and blood dripped down, siphoned from poor Abby's face, I felt sick to my stomach. You can see some of them in this pic i took at the pool
aww she even looks sad...
This weekend something totally clicked in the boy's heads and they decided they could swim. They are now NUTS and it is terrifying. We got a fun video of Liam but I have no idea how long it would take to upload but I will try. They both love swimming with "gobbles" and Sam always puts his own on. Liam ventured first and I think when Sam saw how ecstatic Chris and I were about him swimming Sam felt up to the challenge. Yesterday I taught them to yell cannonball before they jump in. It is so cute because Liam yells "camel ball" and then belly flops-- every time. We also had a very fun Earth Day last week. We have a fantastic playgroup at the Australian pool and playground every Thursday. One person is assigned to each, Parents tea, Children's tea or to organize the activity. Nicola was in charge of the activity on Earth day and she brought everyone little flower pots (old yougurt containers) and some great soil and seeds. The kids got to fill up there pots, dig little holes and plant the seeds then water them! After Sam and Liam "builded" their flowers we jumped in the pool. When we got out Sam ran to his plant and was shocked and disappointed that something hadn't grown yet. On the way out we grabbed two flowers and plopped them in each. Then they were left on the front porch to actually grow.
Lemers added the Timor flag, so patriotic. I love this picture because it shows how crazy humid it is here. This was taken after I waited 15 minutes for my camera to defog after stepping out our door and onto the porch. I got impatient and just took it. So on a funny side note, yesterday after school Sam had his buddies Noah and Katie over to play and have a go on the slip n slide. Chris and i were having so much fun listening to Katie and Noah talk. Noah kept putting his slick board on his head and saying "I have an awfully big hat", and Katie kept telling Sam he needed to slide "properly". Sam has already started using a few of the words like "mates" and "porridge" (instead of oatmeal) I LOVE it! Next time I will really try to get the video of Liam swimming up and will have to tape Noah and Katie talking.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Calves are KILLING ME!

That is how out of shape I am. This weekend Chris and I thought it was high time we hiked up Cristo Rey, the giant Christ statue that rests at one of the points of the island that jets out into the ocean. My friend told me that once you reached the top you would have a (an?) "Eureka" moment, and since I am apparently due for a bunch of those these days, I thought why not. We decided this mid-morning and thus didn't get hiking until around 11am. Usually doing anything that involves exertion but not water in Dili at 11am is a bad idea. But we did it anyway. They have done an amazing job of restoring the area where the trail begins. The beach area below the statue is accessible through these little "doorways" which have animal gargoyle type things... so descriptive, a picture is way better:
They are every 100 yards or so (a measurement you would NEVER use here haa!) and have different animals on each. I took these pictures AFTER the hike though and was too beat to walk the hundred yards to take a picture of a different animal so here is the monkey closer up
Once you start walking more inland there is a half circle of little huts you can hang out in and eat or watch the ocean.
(see the statue in the background? This does not do the hike justice at all and makes me sound like an ubber cry baby)
There is also a gorgeous fountain and an amphitheater, and bathrooms the boys thought was a castle... well Liam did.
Chris put Abby in the front pack and slung my huge camera back on his back. I loaded up Liam in the Ergo (SOOO stinkin cool, if you have a 2 year old who likes to be held you have to get one!) And poor Sam was on his own to trudge up :) We all had hats, sunscreen and bug spray, but Liam decided last minute he wanted my hat because it was green-- way cooler then his adorable madras print hat.
I took both these pictures with Chris's camera totally just stiking my hand out and taking it (I have NEVER been good at this... just point the lens towards yourself, you wouldn't think it is that hard-- but it is-- for me.)
As you hike up the HUGE staircase (which is TOTALLY shaded-- thank you mother nature and city planners) there are murals every ten feet or so depicting the final days of Christ. We would read the short inscription to the boys and sam would always say it right back to us but making it in question form, so making the last word raise up in tone. It was very funny in a very irreverent sort of way. I learned a lot of things I didn't "know" (and don't particularly believe) about the final days and it sparked some great Biblical conversation between Chris and myself. After the first chunk of stairs there is a platform to take a little breather and that is where you can see Back Beach (because it is at Christ's back) the picture I posted previously. We drank some water, let Sam rest (he needed it not me I swear) and then pressed on. The next break came at the base of the statue. There was a mural of Christs Empty Tomb and AMAZING views of Dili
(this is the end of beach road, the road that we live on.)
Sam wanted to chill on a bench and I asked Chris to snap a pic of Liam and I. He calls it my "boobs McGee" (totally inappropriate I am sorry) picture but hello I had to stand sideways so you could see Liam.
If Abby sees me she generally cries until I hold her but I risked it to take a picture of her and Daddy
Right then another couple came up and Chris and I ran over and asked if she would take a picture of all of us-- what a rare and fantastic thing! Stupid me though I handed her MY camera instead of Chris's. At first it wasn't turned on, a critical point. So we posed until we figured that out, I ran over turned it on walked back looked down at Sam and said smile buddy, looked up and she was handing me the camera saying "it worked that time" so THIS is our Sahweet family picture at Cristo Rey
Haaa! Gotta love it. But I learned my lesson. Chris felt bad so he took one more of me and the kiddos before we made our final ascent
The last set of stairs was super steep and rather precarious so we took our sweet sweet time. When we got to the top we all had the ahhhhh moment. It was gorgeous! If you go around the front of the statue there is a little section you can sort of sit on and lean over and you feel like you are on the edge of the world. There was one loan fisherman and I had to really use my zoom to get even close to him:
The statue itself was beautiful and on such a clear day was very bright and reflective
the boys sat and rested in the shade
having meaningful discussions such as "my favorite color is blue, yours is green" "yeah mine is green, yours is blue"
(this conversation is had multiple times a day and always said as if it was the first time)
But the somone noticed and ant and the ALL BOY side flared up and the stomping began.
(can you guess which parent dressed the boys for this outing.. one clue it wasn't me-- the boys really only wear "licensed merchandise" when we are at theme parks, or their dad gets them dressed, so it actually is a treat of sorts)
I can tell that living in a mosquito riddled country is finally effecting the boys when Liam saw and bird and first tried to smack it between his two hands (the bird was NO WHERE near him) and yelled "got it!" Then he decided he wanted to fly and sat furiously pumping his arms.
After a nice long break Sam turned to Chris and said "how bout you carry me, isn't that a good idea?". So this is what Chris looked like heading down the stairs:
Some locals walking up said "welcome to Dili" as they passed. Of course the way we looked we scream "tourists" and I thought why argue and just thanked them. We made it down and I was so grateful for an air conditioned car. It really was such an amazing hike. (and really not that bad either just when you strap 35 extra pounds on your back it gives you a work out!) We enjoyed lunch at Little Pataya, the kids favorite because of the "play place" then all came home and much to our dismay no one wanted to take a nap-- so we headed to the pool to wear them out some more. That night at 7:30 both of the boys were ZONKED. They didn't even want to read books. Maybe we'll do this every weekend? I will have calves of STEAL!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

That about sums it up

We had a great family outing this weekend. Unfortunately the internet on the island has been awful, everywhere, (believe me I have tried) so, uploading pictures is hard... but I got a few up and hope to get a big ole post (it was a fun adventure) for now this about sums up how awesome it was. We got to see this:
and much more importantly a lot of this:
to be continued.....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Whats important

Chris and I have been talking about money a lot lately- bleh. I honestly hate talking about money (mainly because I am a VERY poor manager of it). We are trying to make BIG life decisions the kind that you either really regret later or are really grateful you did. I have been stressed, making mental lists, going back and forth. We have been saying prayers and fasting for several different reasons and when I was praying simultaneously for the health of a very beloved sister in law and about monetary questions I was embarrassed by the pairing. As I knelt there I thought about two of my very good friends whom I have been praying for lately. Both with hefty trials in their lives right now and again I was embarrassed. As we left a restaurant today a young boy asked if we would buy this or that. My immediate response in tetum "no thank you" his response "I am so hungry" and I was again embarrassed by my own petty "issues". Tonight, to "escape" I just wanted to look at some beautiful photography, so I thought I would check one of my fav photographer's blogs Natalie Norton. I hadn't checked her blog since we moved. I read this post and began crying, hard. After regaining some composure I sat here at my computer contemplating which of my 3 cuties was going to get a midnight waking because I had to hold someone. Luckily right then Abby squeaked a little and that was enough. She probably would have gone back to sleep on her own but I was so glad that I could hold her for a while. I keep having this realization over and over, they are ALL that matters. I cannot be more blessed and I just had to express it in some form. Will they remember if we had granite counter tops- heck no. But they sure will remember playing super hero, making volcanoes and train tracks, and having picnics in our tent made of sheets-- so A LOT more of THAT will be happening around here and a whole lot less looking at Restoration Hardware, I am wide awake, thanks for the call.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Marching To the Beat

On Sunday I was woken from my regularly scheduled Sunday nap by a repeadted loud thumping. Our house here in Dili is made of metal so most things reverberate through it (thus making Abby's crying at night unbearable-- thats another story) I laid there trying to figure out if it was just a car parked outside our walls blaring its radio or if it was worth going outside. When Sam and I headed out we saw one of the local high schools parading down the street with their band and "cheerleaders". Of course I had to dash back inside to get my camera. (our houses have the blue roofs in the background)
They took a break right in front of our house, well, a break from Marching, not from banging on their drums.
The girls looked like they were having fun despite the heat.
You gotta love their pom poms
Chris has taught me how to say "May I take a picture?" in Tetum. I actually usually receive a no and then they run away, but today the drummer guy looked at me and said "sure whatever" in English. Can't you just feel his attitude seeping through this photo, I feel for his teacher!
I am glad the locals were as excited about the parade as Sam and I. Everyone stopped washing their cars (a Sunday tradition here apparently) and hung out watching the show
Sam and I headed back inside to enjoy the rest of our quiet Sunday, but not before we took a wiff of the gorgeous Gardenias that are going crazy on our trees this week. Mmmmmm I LOVE that smell

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sammy and the Port-- and other happenings

This week was a FAST one! Liam started Dili Sprouts (how CUTE IS THAT!!!) he goes MWF from 8:30-11:30. Then Sam goes to school from 12-4. Add in Swim lessons on Tues for Lemers and Weds for Sam, playgroup on Thursday and oh my gosh I can't believe how fast the week went. After I drop Liam off at school I head to the embassy to work out. I spent the entire time on the treadmill Wednesday with a rock in my stomach thinking that Liam would be crying for 3 hours. It didn't help when my friend Nicola came and reluctantly informed me that yes he was crying when she dropped Addie off. Dang it. When I picked him up his sweet teacher Anna totally downplayed it and said he stopped crying once she started talking about favorite colors. He perked up and named off our entire families favorite colors (mine is purple and Chris loves pink-- according to Liam)
It has been great being able to spend some nice one on one time with the cuties though. I didn't take very many pictures this week because, well it just was to crazy! I did catch some of Sam at the port. It is a hotspot here in Dili. People are always hanging out waiting for shipments or getting on or off the ferry to Autaru (the island just off our coast). When we drove past the other day Sam asked if we could get on the ferry and go to the island and get some strawberries. AHHHH stab to the heart. He totally thought we were by the Jamestown ferry and wanted to go out to our favorite farm college run. I let him know NOTHING would make me happier then to be able to do that but that there were no strawberries on that particular island... or in this hemisphere haa!. The entrance to the port is this cool black rock with blue doors. Sam hide in the entrance when I asked him if I could take a picture of him.
I told him I would LOVE to see both eyes. So he stooped down a little and gave a me a sort of smile.
When I told him I would give him some smarties if he would really smile-- well that hit the spot and he jumped up and became super cheesy 80's model boy.
"Maybe a tiny bit less cheesy Sammy"
"How 'bout you do a picture of I'm a little tea pot?"
"Ummm ok?"
"Alright. Sam the guy wants to come out of the door"
"Watch out the teapots hot"
Have I mentioned I LOVE his preschool teacher?
Someday we will get a real hair cut instead of my random trims during coloring time. On Friday night My friend Meredith had a ladies dinner at her home. It was such a great night. We all brought a dish from our country (or whatever you wanted) I wish I had brought a map and stuck a pin in all of the countries I heard mentioned that night. It sounded something like this:
"In Cosivo the guys..." but "In Pakistan they"..."Down in the Solomon islands"... "New Zelanders don't"..."I had none of my spices from Ghana"... Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Greece... it was amazing! The conversation and stories were incredible and the food as good as the conversation. Che Che was there with Meredith's nanny Ellen to help anyone with their cuties, but Chris had been kind enough to take all three so my hands were free all evening. Saturday evening Che Che did come and watched the kiddos while Chris and I went to a very highly recommend restaurant. I have been dying for some good meat and was told this was the place. I am KICKING myself for not bringing my camera, but I figure we will be going back :) I order the "Steak on a hot stone" and that is literally what I got. It was a HUGE piece of almost raw meat on a searingly hot hunk of stone. It was fabulous! I love my meat WELL done so I could cut it up and sear every bit of pink right out of it. Yum yum. We had originally planned on brining the kids because our friend said there was no one else there when she went so they wouldn't bother anyone and that it was kid friendly. She was right about the no one else being there but it is only kid friendly if your kids like getting 3rd degree burns from bumping into their mom or dads "hot stones". Our poor waitress totally burned her arm delivering them. Chris and I both joked that this was another "only in Timor" thing. There is no way they would do this in the States, law suits for burns would abound and restaurants would probably be burned to the ground. So we will enjoy it while we are here, and have yet another fun restaurant to take Kerstin to when she visits! Well that is a short version of a crazy week and for my own selfish reasons one more of Sam... a black and white of course!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

V is for Molecano

Sam's preschool teacher Ms. Naomi is AMAZING. She some how melds perfectly no nonsense with the tenderness needed to have preschoolers love you. Sam is learning a crazy amount and I have been having fun doing homework with him. Last week the letter of the week was V. We practiced lots of V words one of which is Volcano. Sam cannot say Volcano for his life. He always says Molecano. He'll make the V V V sound then VVV Molecano, it cracks me up. I decided it would be fun to make a homemade volcano so we looked up the recipe online and went to town. When the Volcano "errupted" (more of fizzled over in frothy pinkness) Sam gave me this look
During W week Sam came home with a Witch's hat. I told him that since he was a boy he was a wah wah wizard. He looked at me and with a cute smile said "wah wah whatever." HAAAA! He made sure to bring Liam home a hat, and the two of them put spells on imaginary foes for the rest of the evening.
We had another fantastic mail day, lets just say Sam's Pirate Birthday party is going to be AWESOME (of course tons of pictures will follow!) I also received my first HUGE print of a picture I took. I was so excited I opened it right there in the mail room. I am dying to get our frames so I can start covering our sad bare walls. Another great thing about Sam's school is how much they recycle. After we are done using our box's as spaceships
we take them to school and I love seeing them come home as random fun art projects that have been stapled and glued together. They have these heaping piles of recycled material for the kids to dig through and let their creativity flow. Perfect for a three year old!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dili and the Peace Corp... its been a long week

Chris has been running like crazy this week. Peace Corp came to Dili last week and Chris has been almost 100% responsible for their visit. This is HUGE as it is one of the Ambassadors number one priorities, to get them to come back to Dili. When Chris told me he was in charge of their visit I thought "um, you are AWESOME and everything but you've only worked here two months!" He has done a great job though and we are thinking it is almost a done deal (knock on wood). This has meant lots of visits out to the district (the out lying villages) and late hours, hence a very long week. We had to find lots of things to do to make time go by fast! We started out early one morning by making pink pancakes... I mean PINK pancakes.
Sam and Liam were giggling uncontrollably when I brought them their pink, sprinkle covered pancakes. Then they requested their spaceships (car seats) be brought in the house so they could go into orbit. They put on their space helmets (beach hats) and blasted off.
We had some grumpy moments. Sam came and told us "Liam is sooooo grumpy". Liam then rounded the corner with this face and announced "I'm Gwumpy!"
We call it his duck lips and he does them anytime he is pouting, or apparently grumpy. We had some silliness and lots of requests for pictures to be taken during silliness.
We had fun at bedtime
We have let the boys stay up after the bedtime routine reading books lately and have been melting at how cute they are at this time of night. They will pull a book onto the rug and lay on their tummies, legs, propped up head on chins and just talk and talk about the pictures. One night they dragged the entire drawer of books into the closet to read... because apparently books are cooler when read in the closet. By the weekend though I was getting worn out. Chris had to head out again on Saturday and I was DREADING another long day, this time with no school and no Che Che. Thank heavens Meredith called and invited us over to play and make pizza. She made up an awesome game of "find the stuffed animal" and then went around the house hiding Amanda's MANY stuffed animals. The cuties got baskets and went wild.
Amanda was great at it! Liam not so much :)
I love going to fellow Expats homes and seeing all the super cool items they have collected in their travels. One of my very favorites HAS to be Meredith's literal cork board.
They went around to restaurants in Brussels and collected the Corks and then Meredith's Dad (a Texan who is now a prize winning sheep farmer in England) built the frame.
I just think that is soooo cool. All the more reason to want to go to Brussels next! We also got to play at our DCM's home again and had a blast with their tree house! I am always a little nervous about them going up and down the stairs but Liam is pretty good about waiting at the top for me to help him
and Sam is very careful and slow going down
and well, when you are as light as this little fair climbing up is no problem.
Thankfully Sunday was nice and slow and relaxed and filled with Daddy time and Skyping with family. We are so excited for Peace Corp to come back to Dili... and equally as excited for things to slow down a little bit :)