Friday, June 16, 2017

Where has the time gone?

Six years ago we arrived in this country with you, our 6 year old boy and 4 year old girl. During our first week, we celebrated your birthdays; Ty-ty turning 7 and Jori turning 5. Our blonde haired, blue eyed babes, getting older, but still so little and sweet.

This kid.

Just like brother.
And now today, we suddenly have a teenager in the house. Tyson Alan we are celebrating you turning 13 today. Where has the time gone? No really, where has the time gone? How did you go from this little 7 year old boy to a young man? 

Today I watched you dance in front of a crowd of children and adults from our neighborhood. There was a time not so long ago that you would not have dared to put yourself out there, but lately your brave side is shining through. Whether it is dancing or putting out a fire with your mama. You know, a fire that you told me was going to get out of control, but mother knows best, right?

Our "little" garbage fire burned half the field!
You were so scared, yelling "We are going to die" as I yelled at you to get more towels to beat the flames. "We have to call someone, mom. We cannot do this ourselves." Oh buddy, you were so right. Thank God for our neighbor, Lameck, who ran out with some buckets and took on one side of the fire by himself while you and I beat the flames around the electrical pole with wet pieces of Nala's bedding. You were scared, but you did. not. give. up. You didn't. You fought through your fear and you stepped up and stamped out that fire.

This boy! Smart and Brave!
Sweet sissy. Turning 11 in 2 days; following after your big brother as you do in so many ways. Yet you are also becoming Miss Independent. You have spent more of your life in South Africa than you did in the US, and you are definitely our American-African girl.

This is your first year being at school alone and you have handled it like a pro. It wasn't easy for you as you have come to depend on your big brother more than you like to let on, but we see you there, shining your own bright light each day as your head off to school. 

Fierce and Funny
You have what some might call "personality plus". You are entering the moody pre-teen stage, which scares this mama too much, but your sweetness and spunk are what shine brightest. Your pjs have a hood with ears and you love to wear it around and call yourself "The Living Teddy Bear". The Living Teddy Bear loves hugs. And cuddles. And kisses. And lots of them!

I'm The Living Teddy Bear and I like Warm Hugs
As we get ready to head back the US for only the 2nd time in 6 years, I find myself thinking about the two of you and wondering who you would be if we hadn't moved here, but I don't think about it too much because I love who you are. Brave and Kind. Fiery and Sweet. I hope you will look out for each other no matter what continent we are on. You are spectacular on your own, but even better together. 

Brother and Sister. Best Friends Forever. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Almost time.

It is Friday night, June 9. We are flying to the states in less than 2 weeks. Time is flying and it shows no sign of slowing down. The stomach flu is over, or at least we are hoping it is. Darin had a resurgence on Saturday night, but we think it was actually a case of food poisoning. Our dead mouse count is up to 6 as the kids found an already deceased rodent behind a kitchen cupboard last week. The other mice are thwarting our best efforts to kill them, eating crackers, cheese and peanut butter off of the trap without actually snapping the trap on themselves. Clever little buggers.

We are dealing with a lot of stuff right now, including a lot of pain in my family with the death of my nephews' dad earlier this week. It is hard to be away from family, but I am so thankful that this is the year we are heading home for a visit. It is time to just be together with those we love, away from the hustle and bustle here in South Africa.

We are looking forward to seeing family and friends, but there is also a lot of anxiety. Darin seems to be the most worry free, but that is his nature. I am recalling our last visit home and how some things did not go as expected and I worry that those awkward moments will happen again. The kids are showing their anxiety in different ways, with Tyson asking a million and one questions about all the things and Jori becoming quite sullen and moody; or maybe that is just her preteen hormones at work.

On the 16th Tyson will be turning 13 and on the 18th Jori will be 11. Where has the time gone? We will be celebrating on the 17th at Butterfly. I will provide cake, as Jori has requested, and will be asking friends to help with the rest, as even the cake making has me feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point. I'll do it for my girl though!

The 11th marks 6 years since we flew to South Africa on this grand adventure. There have been a lot of ups and downs in our lives and in our work. We came for 3 years initially, planning to be here for 5, and now year 6 is almost in the books. We don't know what God has in store for us, but we are choosing to trust and go forward day by day.

We look forward to seeing many of you soon.

Friday, June 2, 2017

And then it was June

These last few weeks have been hard. Now, we all have hard in our lives and some hard is like mind- blowingly painful and some is just the every day kind of stuff that piles up and buries a body under its weight. What is hard for one person might seem like a cakewalk to someone else. This is some of the physical, real life hard we've been dealing with. I might get around to posting some of the emotional/mental hard, but not sure if I can emotionally/mentally deal with it, so wait and see!

We still have mice. Yep. We've killed three (the bag'em and drown'em method) and thought that was the end of it, but we were wrong. Those who are left behind are brazen; running past us while we watch TV, chewing away at things behind kitchen cupboards while we peer at them with a flashlight; and they poop a lot. It's everywhere. It is gross. When mixed with their urine, it is messy and sticky.

**Update: 2 more mice have been caught and killed since I started this post. I repeat, 2 more mice have been caught and killed.**

We have had the stomach flu. Tyson went down first on Thursday night, but he recovered quickly.  Then we had Amo over on Saturday night and it was puke and poop-a-geddon. All over the sofa, multiple blankets and a few changes of clothing. It also got on Darin's face (don't ask), which led to him getting sick on Sunday night and feeling miserable until Tuesday. In between Amo and Darin, our washing machine broke, with a load of poo and puke covered clothes inside. While Darin was out buying a new washer, while feeling like crud himself, Tyson and I drained and carried out the old washer, finding lots of mouse turd treasures in the laundry room. Such a treat. I went to a meeting on Tuesday and ended up with such a bad case of the chills that I was shaking and had blue lips. It was sudden and strange, but I drove home and went right to bed. I've had a bit of a headache and some head cold symptoms, but no tummy troubles (yet). Wednesday after school Jori said her tummy hurt and sure enough, she was hanging over a bowl the rest of the night.

So in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Jori is on the sofa and we are in bed and the phone wakes us up just after 1. It's Amo's mom calling to say that Amo is having a seizure. While we are talking the seizure stops so we say we'll call back and check how she is in 10 minutes. Darin calls back and all is well. Then at 1:45, another call, another seizure. This one seems worse, so Darin heads out to act as hospital transport and support. At the hospital the seizure was controlled with meds and Amo's vitals all came back to normal, but she was admitted for observation. The hospital is never a great option for Amo as she doesn't receive proper care when she is there. Some of the nurses expect her to "act her age" and it is hard to get people to understand the severity of her disability and what she can and cannot do. Darin dropped Annah of to catch a bit of sleep at home (there are no beds for moms at the hospital, they sleep on the floor on whatever blankets they bring from home) and he made it back home and came to bed at 6.

Thursday was just a quiet sort of day, but heavy. Jori was on curled up on the couch, Tyson was busy with school work and wood working in the garage, Darin slept late after being gone all night. It was June 1. JUNE!!!! There is so much to get done before leaving South Africa and so much to prepare for heading to America. We visited Amo at the hospital and she was tired, but looking good. Hopefully everything will go well  and she will be discharged on Friday, but having her be in the hospital again just reminds us how fragile her little life is. We also know that her family is perfectly able to handle things on their own, but they are like family to us and you want to be around to help your family.

It is now Friday, June 2. Jori is back at school, Tyson is complaining that it is Friday and he shouldn't have to do any school work. Darin and I hope to get some stuff cleared out at the new Distribution Centre (DC). Yeah, I forgot to mention that over the last 2 weeks we've moved out of our old office/distribution space and moved to a better location in Hammanskraal. It is something we are happy about, but moving takes a lot of effort.

Afternoon now and I have been out most of the day. We did some quick work at the DC, and then I chased people around by phone and in my car to get paperwork from them that was due today at 2. Frustrating to say the least. I also made some deliveries of porridge and also a gas stove to one of the centres. The Take Action truck has been out of commission for over a month and our cars have both been getting a lot of extra use. We hope to upgrade our gray car when we get back as we need something higher off the ground. The roads to most of our centres are terrible and after 6 years of hard driving and dirt roads going to Tshepo ya Bana and now around town, the time is coming for an upgrade (we hope!!) After driving around I went back to the DC to leave our car for the driver to use, Darin picked me up and we went to the hospital. Amo was discharged at 3. So we took her and her mom home, then made it back to our place. I did a little computer work, then it was back out to pick up our car and now I am back at the computer.

Tomorrow night our kids have a sleepover at church. They both invited friends along. We will have Amo overnight as her family is expanding their house. Super exciting for them, but lots of work and mess and drafty spaces until it is finished, so we get some more time with Mozie Pozie! Family Frenzy after church on Sunday and then it all starts over again on Monday morning.

So we are over here, tired, sore, but still standing.

Build Them a Home Progress Report #3

Wow, wow, wow!!! We are only $50 away from reaching our goal!! Thank you to everyone who gave over the past week. The house is really taki...