Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Overdue Update :D

Wow...blogger is going to actually let me post tonight? I don't know what it is, but I have been having so much trouble with blogger lately. I haven't been able to post anything the past couple of days. Every time I try to log in or create a new post, I get an error 500. The last time it was an error 400...I guess I should look for the big 600 next time. Anyway, sit back, grab a coffee or a soft drink. This is gonna be a long one! haha!

First of all I 've decided to give up on my 365 project. I'm just going to enjoy keeping track of life via my blog. I have a daily record (or almost daily) of events up until about the beginning of Sept. That isn't too bad. And I'll definitely keep you up to date, I'm just not going to go crazy trying to get a picture everyday, and dealing with the guilt feelings of not having taken any photos etc... I'm just going to blog, at my own convenience, and I know I will enjoy it more. Not to say that I didn't enjoy the 365 project...I did. But, now I'm done.

Another thing I'm considering is changing the name of my blog. Which I think means my followers will have to rejoin etc... Unless anyone knows of a way to change names without doing that?? Any advice would be appreciated. I wasn't really thinking when I created my blog...obviously. Why I would create a blog name with the year in there was really dumb. So, help me out...what should I name my blog? Provided that name is available of course...but leave me a comment with some ideas.

Thanks for the help with the kitty names btw. The kids decided on cuddles. My opinions don't count too much anymore in this house. At least when it comes to naming pets anyway. They love that cat, and she is getting to be pretty cuddly. She loves to purr and gets her motor running as soon as we pick her up. I have kept her pretty confined to the laundry room. She has a litter box in there and we keep the door shut. I'm afraid of her getting brave and venturing out in the yard and getting eaten by the neighbor dogs like our last cat. And I'm a little afraid of how Penny will treat her. I try to put them together a little bit everyday for some supervised play time. Penny is all puppy though, and just wants to rough house with her. I was watching them today and laughing at them. Then things turned a little scary, as Penny muckled onto the back of the cats neck and picked her up. She looked right at me and I was sternly saying her name, "Penny, no!" But I think she thought it was a big game of catch. As soon as I started towards her she took off running right out of the courtyard gate with the cat still in her mouth. Ahhh! I took off through the house to meet her in the front, since it appeared that was the direction she was heading. Well, she never came around so I went back into the courtyard and she sauntered right in, and then little Cuddles came walking in after her. So...thankfully Penny didn't kill her. I just don't know what to think. I don't think Penny would ever intentionally kill her...but she is SO rough! She LOVES to play and she sees that cat as a live playtoy I guess. She bats at her and nips and jumps. Poor kitty.

We thought we'd lost Rex this week too. We have this plant in our house, and the kids will put Rex on the leaves for whatever reason. Well, Drew evidently put Rex there and forgot about him. I noticed him looking the plant over very closely at bedtime and asked him about it. He told me he'd left Rex...and now he was gone. Sure enough, he was gone. Which means that he fell off the plant, and onto the table, and then fell off the table and onto the floor. That little guy is tough, let me tell ya! So, all during devotions, while Ben was reading, I was walking around the parlour with my eyes open. It is a chameleon for crying out loud! They are hard to find! Sometimes we will all be searching in our window and be staring straight at him, and not even see him! I thought for sure we'd never see him again. I never did find him that night and cautioned the kids to be very careful where they stepped, b/c I figured he probably made his way down the hallway and was hiding in a bedroom somewhere. Well, the next morning (yesterday), Drew found him. He was in our bedroom and was crawling on the base of our oscillating fan. Of all people to find him, too. Drew, with his terrible eye sight, spotted him! haha!

We found a new restaurant for our family day. The Hamburger Place, as the kids like to call it, had some trouble with their employees. Evidently the cook left and ran off with a bunch of their kitchen supplies. Now, we are in Africa after all, so all the kitchen supplies probably didn't amount to much. Their kitchen is about the size of two of my closets...but they couldn't serve anyone without those supplies or without a cook for that matter. So we went in search of another restaurant. I'm always skeptical. You just never know what you will get here. You might order rice and it be full of rocks or dirt b/c they didn't clean it. You might get an organ or a piece of meat on your plate that you didn't really want. So, restaurant eating is done with caution, and when you find a good one...you stick with it. Well, this restaurant (I don't even know the name of it!) was a winner. It was in a very nice, fancy-ish dining room, and it was all clean. They had a big flat screen tv on the wall, and handed us the remote when we sat down. So while we waited for our food (which is usually a long time...another African thing) we were able to watch The National Geographic channel.
It was so nice! We watched some show on animals in Russia...and it kept the kids content while we waited. We got really yummy chicken, and french fries, and Ben and Emma got fried plantains. The kids love it and even Drew strayed from his normal order of plain spaghetti, and got chicken this week! So, we definitely found a winner. You can take a gander at their menu too, if you'd like. If you click the image it will make it bigger. On Sunday the kids sang a special in church. Kate came to me and said she'd like to sing, so I picked out a song that she could sing for a special. I decided to see if Drew could handle carrying the alto part, and if Kate could carry the soprano part while Drew carried the alto part. haha! They did great! Drew has an amazing ear for music. I don't know if all kids his age begin to harmonize. I remember wanting to sing alto SO bad. I used to sit next to Mrs. Russell in church because she always had such a strong alto voice. She must have cringed every Sunday as I slid in the pew next to her because I couldn't carry that alto part at first and sounded awful! I was in junior high I think, when I was determined to learn that part. It seems to come naturally for Drew. So, he picked it up in no time, and with some work, Kate did a great job staying on the melody line...and my fingers managed to find all of the keys so I didn't mess them up with my piano playing either!

We left our service in Bambili and headed to church in Bamenda. We saw this interesting sight along the way:Those are not birds...they are bats. Weird, huh? The sky was just FULL of them!

As we were pulling into our church lot, Ben got a call from Emmanuel's caretaker, Andrew, who informed him that Emmanuel had just died five minutes ago. It was a sweet, but somber service in Bamenda on Sunday. We had a time of prayer for Emmanuel's family, who still doesn't know Christ. He mentioned them in prayer regularly - he was really burdened for his family. He has a neat testimony actually. Matt and Susan Yeiter had regular mechanical problems with their washing machine when they first got one here. It was a used model, and the lady they bought it from promised to send a mechanic out to repair it. Well, Emmanuel was the tech guy. He came out and repaired it, and before he left that day Matt shared the gospel with him. Emmanuel didn't make a decision though. Shortly after that, the Yeiter's washer broke down again. Guess who came back to fix it...and guess who heard the gospel again? I think their washer broke down three times, and after hearing the gospel several times, Emmanuel finally trusted Christ. Sometimes God takes us through frustrating circumstances for an ultimate purpose. Emmanuel was a different person from that day on, and a faithful member of our church in Bamenda. He was a true servant...always working behind the scenes at the church doing a lot of maintenance. If Matt and Susan hadn't gone through the frustration of being without a washer...and had they not taken advantage of that situation by sharing the gospel with their technician...Emmanuel would be in hell today. I'm so thankful that Matt took that opportunity and was able to lead Emmanuel to Christ. For the last couple of months, he'd been in SO much pain. Through our tears we were rejoicing on Sunday, that Emmanuel was suffering pain no longer! Here is a picture of him on the day of his baptism. So, this next week will be a busy one for Ben. I think on Friday he will spend the night out in the village with people from our church for the wake keeping.

As you can see I'm kinda working my way backwards. :D On Saturday the kids played hard outside. They also went to visit our neighbor, to deliver thank you notes for the kitten that she gave us. I cracked up at Kate's note and had to share it: In case you can't actually read it, it says, "Thank you for the kittin - you are the best - she is soooooo cute - I love her sooooo much - why would you give that kittin - why, why, why - oh well - thank you for it enyway." LOL! No punctuation, or anything. She just finished her first chapter in English on writing...so I guess we have some more work to do. But it sure made me laugh!

Kate went to town with Ben on Friday. He is starting to take the kids every once in a while. She loves one-on-one time, so it is very good for her.

I got this cute shot of Emma and Penny on Thursday. Penny is gettin' big!

On Wednesday, Ben came home from church and the power went out. We were all amazed that even though it was dark we could still see to walk around our house! Usually when the power is out here, you can barely see your hand in front of your face! It is SO dark. But the moon was SO full and so bright. The sky was so clear too, that Ben said you could see one of the planets. I didn't get a shot of that, but we tried to get a good shot of the moon. There was one bright star that really shone underneath it too. It was too beautiful to describe and obviously the picture doesn't do it justice. We were all outside as a family staring at the sky! Our nightwatchman must have thought we were crazy! Well, I could share more, but I'm afraid I've bored you as it is. 4 more weeks until my Mom comes and we are getting excited and counting down the days. I'm also so excited about Bernadette, a girl that I just hired to help me in the kitchen! Woot! Today she came and washed all my dishes, cleaned my stove, washed my kitchen windows and I taught her how to make coffee cake! So, having her help out with stuff like that will help me stay on top of the kids and their school work. It just gives me a little breather a few days out of the week. She comes from about 9-12:30. She and her hubby are serving in a church about 15 minutes from here. They are newlyweds and are really struggling financially. They have been begging for work. They came this past week actually to tell us that they only had 100 francs in their pocket (500 francs is 1 dollar) and that was the last of their money. They wondered if we had any work that day for them to earn some money. So, this job really helps them, and it really helps me too. She will learn to bake and I will have help with our breakfasts. And...the dishes!! I hate dishes!! That alone would be worth it!!!

Ok...I'm done! Have a great day!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Evening Post

It is Saturday evening, and I know that I promised you an update yesterday with pictures, but I do live in Africa after all, so I guess I shouldn't make promises. Anyway, our internet was out all night and Saturday morning until 9. So, I honestly couldn't post. :D (for once I have a good excuse!)
My week was a blur. I am not sure I could even recount any details, but I did get all the pictures off the cameras that will hopefully give all of us a smile!

First up...My silly kids!
I'm not sure what sparked this idea, but they were getting ready for a big snowstorm. I had to laugh at Drew's hat choice. You can see Faith Ann in the back lookin' kinda sad. I'm not sure why she wasn't participating in all the fun. But she decided to imitate her siblings the next day, and this is what she came up with for snow attire: Gotta love the princess panties...

Drew is a pretty good artist in my opinion, though I am sure every parent must say that about their kids. He is always asking for paper to draw on. Here is his interpretation of Monster's Incorporated: Ben has been spending much of this week at Mbingo Baptist Hospital with Emmanuel from our church in Bamenda, who is very ill. He learned that he has tuberculosis in his bones. Evidently it is literally deteriorating his bones. He has some fractured bones right now even, and is in constant excruciating pain. He was already a small man, but Ben says that he is literally a skeleton. Today Ben and Matt along with Primus and TomMike went to visit him. Primus couldn't even stay in the room he was so broken. He is barely recognizable - he has wasted away to almost nothing. While they were there, Ben always has opportunities to pass out gospel tracts. He got a picture of one man reading Drew's story...the perfect thing to read at a hospital! Thursday was meat day. I suddenly realized on Wed. that we were out of ground beef. So Ben went first thing in the morning to get some fresh beef. Once he buys the meat, he brings it home and begins the trimming process, which is a LOT of work. But Ben has it down to a science. He didn't have time to finish everything unfortunately, so I had to finish it up and do the grinding:
We interrupt this broadcast for a public service announcement....this is a test....this is a test of the emergency blogger system... Ugh! So, I have this whole post ready except for this last picture and the introduction to our new family member and I suddenly get this blogger message...Error 400. What?? I couldn't do a thing on blogger last night. Couldn't log in, access my dashboard, upload pictures nothing. I shut down my computer and rebooted. I finally gave up and headed to bed, but not before googling that error message. Evidently it is a random message that people get, and they recommended clearing my cache, or switching browsers...etc...Well it was too late. I figured I'd just come back tomorrow - now today - and finish my post. Thankfully no error 400 today. So, here is our new pet. And I need your help. We need a name for this little guy, who is so cute btw. She has taken up residence in our laundry room, complete with litter box and seems quite cozy in there. She loves to whine and meow, but she also loves to cuddle and purr, so I think she is getting comfortable with us.
Ben came home from his visitation on Thursday and said, "I got a surprise...bring a bowl of milk." I knew what that was and squealed. The kids still didn't catch on. So we all rushed to the laundry room, and there was our adorable new kitty! So again, I need names people! :D Respond with some ideas and I'll run them by my kiddos. If we choose the name you responded with....you win..............drumroll please........

nothing, except for the fact that our adorable kitty will bear the name you have chosen! :D

Thursday, September 16, 2010

No Title

I have no title for my post. I'm a bad, bad, bad blogger! and I've left all my peeps hanging the past few weeks! It really is just getting harder and harder to keep up this 365 project. I love blogging, but don't like being stuck on having to do it every single day. I think next year, I'm going to do project 52. Rather than 365 days of pictures, pick out one highlight of the week, or something. This week I have been terrible. I haven't taken one picture! Ben took a picture of the kids yesterday. They were all dressed up for the snowstorm...haha! I won't reveal too much because I plan on coming back tomorrow (last day of school for this week!) and posting some photos. We also have a new addition to our family that I'll share (no I'm not pregnant!) and I will try to take another interesting photo tomorrow too. Then I really need to try and remember to dig my camera out each day this coming week! So, I just wanted to quickly pop in and say I'm sorry, and that I'll get some pictures up tomorrow!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The last few days...

So, I'll catch you up on the last few days. I figured I'd better post before my mom said something...hahaha!! Just kidding mom! :D

On Sundays, Ben walks to church early. We have Sunday School in Bambili at 8. Because it is such a long day already (we don't get home until 3) I usually get ready and head to church for the main service and Children's church. I drive the car since I have all the kids, and Ben walks to church. He snapped a shot of the road ahead of him as he was walking to church on Sunday. I got the sweetest email this week. Check it out:
This kid loves to email! I bought this typing tutor program for kids. Drew went through the whole program and he types better than his dad now! So, Ben set him up with his own email account, and he checks his email everyday. He's written and received letters from his Mommy of course :D, his grandma and his Mimi and Papa and uncle Jay. He is so stinkin' cute! So, out of the blue he sent me this sweet email. He is SUCH a good kid. So easy going...never complains. He is the reason I really wanted all boys, and one girl, rather than the other way around. I'm just kidding of course. I did want that when we were planning and talking about a family, but I obviously wouldn't change a thing now!

Tuesday was hamburger night. I made yummy ranch burgers that were far to small for the buns that I made. Oops! But the family loves burgers. The kids always ask for another one. And I don't skimp on the meat either. They just love ranch burgers. We also had some dill pickles that Susan found in Younde...Oh yum. What a treat.The girls occasionally ask Ben to show them his muscles (and he does have some nice muscles). It is such a crack up to listen to them..."Wow Daddy...that is enormous!!" It makes him feel good for sure. And then of course all the kids have to show their muscles too. Daddy does a good job pumping Drew up and making a big deal of how big his muscles are. :) And then my last pic, for tonight. I had something else on the camera to post, but Ben came quietly into the kitchen as I was working on the computer and said, "Grab the camera. Here is your 365 for the night." I was like, "what?" I was expecting some big hairy spider crawling across the parlour floor or something. But instead I found this: Emma is our sleepwalker. She takes after her momma. I was a terrible sleepwalker when I was little. I once tore all the covers and sheets off of my bed in the middle of the night and threw them out in the garage. And then crawled back into an empty bed and went to sleep. Several times when I was in high school, my dad would pound on the bathroom door while I was in the shower, only to tell me that it was 2 in the morning! Huh? I did that a lot. Anyway, she walked out into the parlour and curled up on the couch and I doubt that she will even remember it happened come morning!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Miss Me Yet?

Haha! Yes...I've been MIA this week. School keeps me very busy, and when the end of the day comes, and the kids are in bed...all I want to do is crash...not blog. Oh...and one more excuse, the power has been terrible this week! So, am I forgiven? Good...

My last post was Friday, Aug. 27. On Sat. the 28th, I went to a ladies meeting up in Sabga. We have these every other month, and Rosemary Craven was our speaker this month. She talked about the potter and the clay and it was SO good. I needed to hear every bit of what she had to say. I was especially encouraged by the verse, Psalm 40:2, "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." And I was challenged to be a pliable, moldable piece of clay for my Lord.

I took Faith with me and while we were away, the kids were playing hard outside with all of their friends. Ben got this great shot: and please ignore my oldest daughter. She wears her socks like that all the time thanks to Ben and I keep telling her she looks like a nerd. I told her today in fact, that when she goes to school in America, all the kids are going to make fun of her. She insists on having her socks up like that...and with flip flops?? Oh my...

Sunday was a great day, and my picture (that I don't have yet) will be borrowed from Susan. Yeiters have been having car trouble, and everytime they parked, and shut off the car on Sunday, they had to push start it to get it going. I cracked up as I watched Susan and the kids pushing the car, with Matt behind the wheel! haha!

Monday was a stay at home Family Day. Ben went to visit Emmanuel in the hospital again, and Matt borrowed our car in the morning, so I was home with the kids. If you think I'm a bad wife/mother after me telling you all my cooking woes last week, you are going to love what was on the menu for supper Monday night...Chocolate ice cream with crushed peppermints. Yum!

Tuesday Ben got some speakers put in the bus. The last time we traveled together we tried to bring our ipod and some speakers and listen to some books on mp3. Well, the bus was just too loud. So, he paid an electrician to put in a whole system where we put our music on a thumb drive and tune it into an fm frequency and it plays via radio. I have no idea how it works, I just know that we can now listen to music when we travel!

On Wednesday the kids were outside playing and Emma came running in screaming about this huge spider with a shell on it's back. You know me and bugs! I had to go look! I wish this photo could give you an idea of how big this guy is. HE is big! He was feasting on a wasp when we first found him. We have seen him capture a few things actually. He is still in our garden and we keep checking him out!

Thursday was a rainy day. In fact, we sat at our church for an hour in the car waiting out the rain. Hilary and Michael and Jude finally showed up. Ben shared a couple illustrations from a Watchman Nee book he is reading and we had a time of prayer together. For my pic of the day, I got this cute shot of Emma doing her school project for Bible. She had fun and spent far too long on it, but she's been playing with her little finger puppets ever since.

On Friday ... something very great happened. :) Susan's parents arrived in Cameroon, and with them, my Birthday and Christmas present from my hubby. I'm working on getting everything transferred over, and all my photoshop stuff loaded, and avg and yahoo messenger. It is taking some time, but I am already loving it. It is SO fast! and sorry to my brother. We just couldn't join the mac family now. Maybe some day. :)
And then, finally...today. A nice relaxing day. Ben went to their very first men's meeting. It went well for a first time. I was home with the kids getting my computer organized. I made the kids sit down and watch Anne of Green Gables. NOt really made them, but told them about it. They loved it! I went out on the porch to feed Rex and saw what I think is a lady bug! I've never seen one here before but you can check it out, as I obviously got a picture of it! Isn't it pretty? Drew had fun playing with it for a while.

Ok...so I'm finally caught up. I was going to write that I was so proud of my mom again for not saying anything...but she blew it when we talked this morning. I was even in the process of putting the photos in order on my computer and had blogger open. I'm only giving you a hard time Mom! YOu know I love you! The grandparents enjoy this blog more than anyone b/c it keeps them connected with the kids. But I'm thankful to all my readers for your patience with me!