February 18, 2009

Play-Doh, demolition, and jazz

The other day we went out for a drive in our new electric three-wheeler (big enough for the whole family, complete with a cute little basket, a tooting horn, and foot pedals to aid in the ascending of hills). Our first outing was to our seamstress, where we effectively ordered the rest of our bedding, a project which was put on hold when morning sickness gripped our lives this fall. Next we stopped at Dona Donuts where we piled our doughnut box full of cream puffs for me and doughnut holes for the kids. Then we came home, where the boys played with Play-Doh in the bay window and we all watched the demolition site outside, to a background of jazz music on Pandora Radio (coming very nicely through the recycled speakers Daniel installed in the corners of the living room). After that, we all enjoyed a lunch of stir-fried pork with green onions, chicken with carrots and peanuts, stir-fried broccoli with garlic, and lots of hot rice. There was plenty left over for dinner, so I didn't need to cook that night, which freed me up to practice my language on Rosetta Stone while Daniel was out meeting with one of his guys.

That day was like an out-of-the-blue greeting card from The Father saying, "I'm with you. I love you."

You will notice there is also a picture here of the makeshift, tin tunnel that the demolition guys constructed to get us "safely" from our gate to the road. "Safe" is a relative term here. On several occasions, a squatting figure from the top of the building would holler for us to wait before we walked through the tunnel, on account of some mangled wad of brick and metal about to crash to the ground. On one occasion, we watched from our window as all of the workers (half without hardhats on) climbed onto the bucket of the excavator and were lowered to the ground. It's amazing the things that would scream "lawsuit" in America, but here it's like, 'Hey, it gets the job done, right?'

p.s. A picture of all of us on our new three-wheeler is coming soon:)

February 16, 2009

Have to give a shout out

I have to give a shout out to www.cottonbabies.com. This company not only sells the world's most incredible cloth diaper, the bumGenius, pictured above, but it supports people who are doing what we are doing. Their way of supporting people like us is to give diaper grants (a package of 15 bumGenius diapers, plenty for one child) to families who are roughing it out here in "the field." What a HUGE BLESSING. I told my friends over here about it, and so far ALL of those who have applied have gotten the grant. That is just one city, in one country alone. What a generous and amazing company!

So if any of you are doing what we are doing, apply for the grant (you have to be pregnant or have a baby under six months of age) and for the rest of you, SUPPORT THIS COMPANY! All of their products are wonderful. Organic clothes and toys, the best maternity T-shirts I've ever worn, and plenty of other wonderful stuff for you or the mommy/baby duos in your life.

Just had to give a shout out.

February 15, 2009

My thoughts on America's weight problem

There are no fat people here. Not a single one. 7 million people in this city and every leg that strides through the mob is lean.

I used to think it was the food they eat, which I still hold to be partially true. I dare you to get fat on rice, greens, nuts, and sprinklings of meat-bits. But they DO use an incredible amount of oil, which makes their food high in fat. And they eat A LOT at a time. Even still, they don't cook with cream, butter, or cheese...and they don't eat desert. On top of that, they walk absolutely everywhere they go, or they ride simple bikes with no gears up hills, hauling a friend or a piece of furniture. There is no need here for exercise programs. If someone in America could market these folks' entire way of life as an exercise program, that person would be rich.

But I think it is more than all of that, even. I think the cost of junk food in America should go up. Let me explain. Just yesterday, Daniel and the boys and I went to the Sam's Club equivalent here in our city. I "splurged" on things like raisins and bran cereal. Everything "Western" has to be imported or is very expensive for them to make, so most junk food here is very pricey. Unlike in America where a bag of potato chips is cheaper than a bag of spinach! When something so tasty is so cheap, it takes a very strong individual to not throw a bag into the cart.

But yesterday, I passed right by the potato chips, not even tempted. I did allow myself to purchase a package of Oreo cookies, but you can bet we will nibble on them for weeks and weeks, making them last. When we are hungry, we eat oatmeal or bananas or leftover dinner. And when we are not hungry, we don't eat. Why would we? It would be like eating money.

So, if America could hide her unhealthy, unnecessary foods away in very difficult to find, obscure little shops with incredibly high prices, and she could make it illegal or almost impossible for citizens to own a car, then none of us would be fat. But America can't implement such rules. She is a free country. Interesting, isn't it, that with free-will comes more room to make poor choices? Very interesting, indeed.

Happy Clementine's Day!

On the morning of February 14th, Bright woke up and shouted, "Is it Clementine's Day?!"

For two weeks he had walked by the wrapped gifts and cards from his grandparents. We had told him that he had to wait until Valentine's Day to open them. He had never heard of Valentine's Day, but he does have a little friend named Clementine Harper. So in his excitement I guess he got confused.

My mom and dad's gift was a shaving kit. They had two little boys of their own and so they know just what a 3-year-old boy wants: to be like Dad in every way. So after breakfast, Daniel set Bright up at the mirror and proceeded to teach him the ins and outs of shaving. He was so proud (they both were, really) and as I snapped pictures of this momentous occasion I couldn't help but see down the road to a day when Bright will be using a real razor for the first time. I'm sure he won't let me take pictures then. I'm sure I won't even know about it. He will probably remove two or three hairs way before it needs to be done. And then before long, he'll be sleeping in until 10 a.m. on a Saturday with a two-day shadow.

But for now, there is a blue and red toy razor in our bathroom drawer and a little step stool tucked under the sink. For now, February 14th is called Clementine's Day and Bright doesn't mind his mother following him into the bathroom with a camera.

February 12, 2009

Tropical Storm Zion

Don't let this demure picture fool you. This boy is like a tiny tornado. Every day, and I am not exaggerating, Zion gains a new bruise (usually on his forehead) or a new cut, or he busts his lip and bleeds all over my shoulder. Every day. Daniel and Bright and I live our lives in peace, milling throughout the house, while Zion flies around like (as my dad would put it) "A fart in a whirlwind." An hour or so will go by without incident, and then a loud crash will sound followed by a moment of silence and then he will start screaming. The worst part of it for me is waiting until the bleeding has stopped so I can see if all of his teeth are intact.

So this is what it is like to live with Zion, or shall I say "Nionee" (which is what he calls himself - his way of saying "Zionee").

Oh Zion, you LOOK so sweet. I'll just be happy if we make it through your childhood with all of your limbs.


Allow me to introduce you to Kayleigh Greene. This cutie pie, with her bouncing red curls and bouncing little walk has marched into our lives in a big way. Her attentions are coveted by both of our boys. Bright is three, Kayleigh is two, and Zion is one. It is a real love triangle.

Just today we walked up the hill, past the Buddhist temple, and around the corner to her house (a journey the kids know well by now). The whole way, Zion shouted loudly and with glee, "Leigh, Leigh, Leigh." Bright just ran on ahead of us, determined no doubt to beat his younger brother to the girl. She shows no partiality between the boys, however. She gives no clues. She keeps them guessing.

A woman's heart is a mystery, after all. As it should be!

We love you, Leigh!

February 10, 2009

Daniel's 25 Things

I thought I would copy my friend, Candace, and put together a "25 Random Things List" for my husband. If you've been on Facebook lately, you've seen this survey going around. Poor Daniel isn't on Facebook because I accidentally erased his page one night when I was trying to make our information more secure. Woops! So here is what you might not know about Daniel Rupp.

1. He didn't know his mother's real name until he was 26 years old.
2. The land his mother and grandmother live on has been in his family for 8 generations.
3. He dreams of climbing Mount Everest, and would seriously do it if we had that kind of money.
4. His alter-ego is a ninja.
5. He is allergic to cold water (verified by medical examination)
6. He sleeps with a shirt over his eyes.
7. He soaks himself 1-2 times a day in a hot bath, without soap.
8. He only uses soap once a week or so.
9. He only washes his hair with soap once a month or so.
10. He is stronger than he looks.
11. He went to Boys State.
12. His Boys State roommate is now a congressman.
13. His grandpa flew B17 Bommers in WWII and lived to be an old man.
14. His favorite person in the world (except maybe me) is his sister.
15. His feet are perfect - beautiful really.
16. He can find a solution to any problem. Any problem at all.
17. He has Geographic Tongue.
18. He would have made a great combat soldier.
19. He is introverted, surprisingly enough.
20. He is the most sincere person I have ever met.
21. He can do a perfect split leap.
22. He was once in a bomb shelter in a war zone.
23. He would rather watch "Fight Quest" than football and he would rather watch "This Old House" than The Office.
24. He loves 80s ballads
25. He might not let me publish this. We'll see.

February 09, 2009

The passing of time

Life is too short. Just before nap time today, Bright asked if I wanted him to read me a book. Though he can read a few words, when he says "read a book" he means "recite a book," - you know how that goes.

So we all snuggled into our eggplant-purple corduroy couch (Bright, Zion, and I) and let Bright "read" his pop-up book of nursery rhymes. Zion kissed us both over and over, as is his habit, and I ran my fingers over Bright's blond buzz cut, taking it all in. The sound of my three-year-old's voice saying, "Hey little diddle" and "Piddle Po Peep." The faint smell of Zion's diaper, which needed changing. The way Bright's little thumb rested on the edge of the page, a thumb which was rounded out with toddler pudge just months ago, but is now taking boyish shape.

Recently I heard a very freeing thing about time. A speaker at our latest conference said that "chrono" refers to some kind of mythological character/god that eats his children. We see it that way a lot of the time, don't we? Chronological time is eating our children, eating our youth, eating our health, eating our lives away day by day. But then the speaker said that we shouldn't fall into the same trap of thinking as humans in times past have done. Time is not eating us, but rather offering us itself, like a gift. If I can see time as something sweet, a partner with the Creator, a force that is investing in my children and not devouring them, then I can find freedom in the passing of these days. It is not something to grieve, but rather something to embrace and watch with wonder and delight.