Category Archives: Keeping Sane

A smelly summer

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Summertime means lots of good things like popsicles, ice cream and pool time.
But here in Paraguay where temps easily go over 100 degrees on a daily basis, summer also means stinky.
I fight two battles every summer: Kill All Ants and Keep House from Stinking.
Why does summer smell?
Well, the house is hot. I mean, H.O.T. So every little crumb, every little piece of toilet paper in the trash can, every sweaty child, every dirty diaper (be it cloth or disposable), every wad of dirty clothes, every piece of leftover food in the trash, begins to fester and steam in 97 degree house.
A trash can that is only half full of used paper towels will be ok at bedtime but by morning? It smells like a pig pen.
Here’s what I do to help, but the problem is never really solved to Fall weather wisps in sometime in March.
1. Empty every trash can, every night, no matter how empty it is.
2. Flush every toilet many times a day. (My children are unable to flush. I don’t know why…but they never do. Annoying.)
4. Take the trash out to the street every night. This makes the front of the house stink, but hey, we spend more time indoors than outdoors.
5. Spray all sweaty children down with water house about three times a day.
6. I had to switch Lexi back to disposable. In order to keep the cloth from stinking I had to wash a load every night, this was using up too much water and for me right now, taking the trash out is easier than doing yet another load of laundry.
7. And speaking of laundry, keep on top of it! That stuff is smelly!!!
8. Light candles all the time.
9. Open windos and turn on every fan.
And once all of the above has been done…
TURN ON THE AIR CONDITIONER.
Any other ideas? Please share!
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Take them OUTSIDE.

What I remember most about my days with two babies was how long those days were. I was the sole source of…everything, for both of them, and it was beyond exhausting.
One of my solutions was to take them for very long walks.
I would put 5 month old Abbie in the Baby Bjorn, and grab 2 year old Elena by the hand, and we would be off.
We would walk for hours.
It gave them a chance to breathe fresh air and me a chance to talk to other adults. It would make their little legs tired and give me some exercise.
We would get home dusty, sweaty, but hey! It was dinner time, bath time and then bedtime! Another day finished: Woohoo!
Now, I feel like the days fly by, there’s so much to do and yet, not much of it is getting done. So what happens is we all start snipping at each other. What’s better? A clean kitchen and picky people or a sink full of dishes and happy people?
I try to choose the latter (but oh, how I love a clean kitchen!) and so many times, when I find that everyone is getting a bit clingy, grumbly, and droopy, we head outside.
For hours.
We drink terere with neighbors, we make new friends, we see a new bug, and we come home tired and happy.
I know it doesn’t always really make sense, to leave the long to do lists behind, but it’s so much better.
Seriously, grab some shoes and go outside.
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Why I blog

Sometimes I forget why I blog. Why do I feel the need to post something as often as possible? It isn’t to make money, obviously. And I don’t really do it to interact with people although I LOVE getting comments. I blog so that one day my girls can remember what they did, said, and acted like “way back when.”

So…to my three little crazies, on this day, September 8th of the year 2011 this is what your day looked like:
Mornings are slow….Angry Birds on the couch while Mommy makes oatmeal for breakfast.

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It was a rainy, drippy day and Elena had the best idea yet – put on rain boots and play in the mud. She ran around in circles, splashing in puddles and shouting out “BEST.DAY.EVER!!” (For those who don’t know, that’s a line from the movie Tangled)
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Then it was time to make dinner…a new recipe, Potato Pizza! It was yummy and they were both sweet in the kitchen.
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My big girls helped by sprinkling rosemary on to the pizza and then feeding leftover bits of fresh parsley to their pet caterpillar named Pasqual, who I am sorry to inform you blog readers, passed away this afternoon. Caterpillars don’t like to be pulled apart into two pieces, this was Abbie’s lesson of the day.
Except for a long game of Ring Around the Rosy with Lexi before bed, those are all of the highlights of today in pictures.
Just little snippets of our days for my girls to remember, I usually only write about the good stuff. There were also some bad attitudes, laziness, and whining today.
(Mostly all from me, and that’s the truth.)

Afternoons

Every day after naps, Lexi gets a snack on the kitchen floor. Her blankie, a plate of fruit and she’s all set.
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“All done!”


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Then she hangs out with Alice for a bit…
Isn’t life grand?

What is it?

We made this hair clip thingy today out of circles of fabric. We went crazy with the hot glue gun. We can’t decide if it looks like a fabric flower hair clip or like a bunch of fabric circles hot glued together.
What do you think?
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Elena couldn’t hold still, this is normal.
Abbie kept making funny faces for the camera, this also is normal.
Today I got all the laundry done.
(And by done I mean washed, NOT, washed, folded and put away. That would just be crazy.)

Our Weekend

We had a busy weekend. Well, maybe not busy compared to a USA busy weekend. Seriously, life there is FAST. How do you all do it?
Busy for us, our little slow moving family in a country known for being “tranquilo.” (calm)
Here is a glimpse at our busyness:
1. We played with balloons.


2. Lexi read some books, one of which happened to be about balloons. What are the odds??


3. We had church and it was good.

4. We made a double batch of Easy Yummy Oatmeal Cookies.
5. Captain Alice escaped from her kennel around 3 AM and made a HUGE mess in the living room.
6. Brian and I went to a birthday party for someone we barely know. Then we left because, hello, we barely knew the person.
And there you have it! Our busy weekend.
That is all certainly busy enough for me! I am very easy going and I don’t like rushing. At all.
How was your weekend?

Same old same old

Today was big day around here.

We taught Alice how to play futbol.

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She’s very passionate about the sport and shows lots of potential. Ha!

Elena drew a picture of this family and then took a picture of it.
Alexandra got into the puppy’s water dish (again) and I told her not to (again.)
Abbie pretended she was sleeping so that she wouldn’t have to clean up the mess she made. Sneaky.
Just another day in paradise!

Today

We started off with having Eggs In A Hole. Or Eggs In A Basket. Or Man In A Boat. I’ve even heard of them being called Toad In A Hole.
I love them!

Morning was beautiful, we had a rock hunt in the yard and then the girls painted the rocks with my last little bit of paint in the house.

(Blurry picture, but very accurate.)

I spent the rest of the day talking to myself. Scolding myself actually.

“I’m so sick of waiting to live. When do we start living? We’ve been packing/moving/packing/moving for over two years now. What gives? When does it end?”
And then I say to myself, “Self, stop complaining. You have a roof over your head. Count your blessings. You are living. This might be the last day. Enjoy it.”
And then Grumpy Self says, “I hope it IS the last day. I’m tired. I don’t feel like a mom. All I feed these little people is PB&J. Our days feel like a Dr. Seuss book and I want out.”
And then I say to Grumpy Me, “The girls love PB&J! And they love Dr. Seuss! You are a mom, every day, like it or not, so be a good one. Circumstance don’t decided that!”
And then Grumpy Self says…
You get the picture.
Do you ever have to chew yourself out?
Then came my least favorite part of the day.
5:00 pm.
Brian asked what I needed. I needed two things. Would he please keep an eye on the popcorn popping while I went to the bathroom and could he take over Lexi’s bedtime.
I couldn’t do it. Not tonight.
As always, because he’s perfect for me, he stepped in and saved the day. (Thanks Hon!)
I gave the big girls some Ginger Honey Tea to soothe their runny noses and sore threats. They sipped on it while I read from Little House on the Prairie.
Maybe I do feel like a mom after all.

Scenes from sick days

Scene 1: Elena hangs over the couch while watching TV. “So that if I throw up it gets on the floor and not on the couch.” (I brought her a bucket.)

Scene 2: Baby, healthy as a horse, helps me make a huge pile of tortillas to freeze.
Scene 3: Puppy attacks the plastic bag.
Scene 4: At my feet a constant state of motion. Did you know that babies act a lot like puppies and vice a versa?
Everyone is healthy now! Hooray! Let the blogging continue!

Crazy Lady

Growing up on the mission field I knew many first year missionaries. One in particular that I remember meeting when I was really young. I remember that she cried about ants. There were ants in the kitchen and this made her cry. I thought this odd. Ants are everywhere. Every kitchen is crawling with ants. Since I only knew Venezuela that was a fact for me. My young mind didn’t comprehend that where she came from, kitchens didn’t have ants.

I thought she was crazy. Who cries about ants?
Now I realize she wasn’t crying about ants. Not really. She was going through culture shock and it just so happened that on that particular day the ants were getting on her last nerve.
No, she wasn’t crying about ants. She was crying because she was lonely, homesick, confused, scared. Maybe she was crying because she was convinced that under all the intense heat her brain had actually turned to mush. She may have been crying because some days breathing felt like a chore and that’s a scary feeling. She wasn’t crying about ants. I’m sorry I assumed she was crazy, I didn’t know any better, but looking back I wish I had helped her kill some of those ants.
I am now the “crazy lady.” Just yesterday I cried….about ants. It was one of those Bad Days where this new city and I were not getting along very well. It has nothing to do with city and everything to do with me. I’ve gone through it before and I’ll do it again. It passes, things become normal and everyone survives.
My first and worst to date experience with culture shock was living in the USA while going to college. It was horrible and I’m surprised I have any friends left from that year.
In order to deal with this culture shock I’ve adjusted a few things, simplified and made changes.
1. I will take a nap every day. I call them my “anti-meltdown naps” This means no exercising for the time being.
2. I will hire someone to clean my kitchen every day of the week. It’s not very expensive here and worth every single penny.
3. I will go to bed early.
All you ex-pats out there that read my blog, I’m curious, what have you done in the past that has helped with your transition into a new culture?
(Because this city we are in is not very Paraguayan…it’s like a hybrid culture. A mixture of everything. Kind of like an MK. I think I’m going to like it here.)