Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Beginning of the End...

...or something less dramatic but equally as descriptive. Today was DeLaynie's last day of pre-school. For my international readers (I'm not holding my breath that we have any, but I'm trying to be optimistic here), it is not normal for children to go to school from January until the end of March. This was the arrangement that we made for the time while we were in Alabama. We didn't get here until late Novemeber. Now we have less than three weeks before we leave for training in Virginia, and we're going to be doing a ton of running around between now and then.

We are incredibly grateful for DeLaynie's time at the pre-school, where everyone was so very kind and patient. Remember from the post on DeLaynie's first day of school that I was a little nervous about how that would go. The teachers have been very patient with her, and she has enjoyed her time there immensely.

This picture first premiered from the day after her first day of school:

Here is a picture of her this morning right before we told her that it was time for school.

Here is a picture of her right after we told her that it was time for school.

Today I was one of those annoying parents who comes to class, outraging the child they came to see, and causing disruption to the entire class (sorry about that). I was able to get one picture of her smiling after I came in and made every one's day less pleasant.

Other than it being DeLaynie's last day of pre-school, we have been packing. Like, for real packing. I've been sorting and packing the girls' clothes into three categories: stuff that they'll wear both at training and in Costa Rica (where we'll attend language school); the stuff that they will need at training, but will grow out of or will be too warm for Costa Rica; and the stuff that they'll probably grow into during training that we'll need for Costa Rica. I'm not totally sure that this is really the best system, but it's the best one that I have.
Clothing is the easy part, though. It's the other things that I'm just not sure about. I have one suitcase dedicated to last-minute additions. How much Frizz-Ease, sunscreen, and makeup should I take? What about bedding? What's going to make the biggest difference to the girls? I just don't know. I'll keep you updated as we continue through the process.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I spent a large amount of time clicking away with my camera during our trip to southern Alabama. I realize that I've had a lot of picture-oriented posts recently. You may be thinking that it has to do with some crazy idea that I've decided to start taking my photography skills more seriously, or maybe you think that I've decided that my children are simply too gorgeous to keep all to myself. To be totally honest, I just find it easier to post a bunch of photos than to write something incredibly interesting. I'm just not too fascinating these days. Amidst all of the crazy stuff going on with packing, preparing for the next big yard sale, and getting all of the documents in order for the adventure that awaits us, you would think that I could come up with something at least mildly amusing to share. But... not so much. I think my brain is playing catch-up with life. For now, you'll just have to look at all of the pictures of people that you may not even know in real life.

Now, before I get into the normal pictures of the girls and family time, I want to make a very special announcement. I have a little brother who, against all odds, remains single...

I mean, check this fella out. How he is still on the market, I simply do not know.


But Gentle (like, literally, it's a part of his name).

He does have a strange mole, though. Dude, it's time to see a dermatologist.

It really is shocking that no one has grabbed this guy up yet, eh ladies?

Well, Micah may not have found love on the beach, but DeLaynie sure did.

You see that shovel? It was rarely more than four feet from her. It belongs to the grandson of the beach home's owners. DeLaynie went here with it.

She went there with it...

And sometimes she dug with it.

We're talking for two days, she and her shovel were b.f.f., except for Daddy, of course.

She liked the dog and all, but it still didn't have much on the shovel.

Edwin and I were there, too.

His face does this weird contortionist thing whenever a camera is in the nearby vicinity. It doesn't make for the most attractive photos in the world, but we were able to get a couple at the wedding in which he didn't look completely inhuman. For a good-lookin' man, he sure has trouble taking a posed shot.

Ella learned to write while we were gone. No, really. She totally did. We're publishing her book, Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in the Womb, next month. It's pretty dense philosophy and prose, but I think that it could possibly change the world. Now, if I could figure out a way to get it to change her diaper...

Big 'D' and Ella. "So sweet!" as DeLaynie would put it.

Gigi and a very tired, and hungry, Ella.

Yep. There's a bow in her hair. She didn't eat it or anything.

More lovey time on Daddy's shoulder. This kid loves a good cuddle, so long as it doesn't interfere with food.

Hey look! Here's a picture with all four of us in it! Thanks to the pastor of Edwin's previous church in Mobile for taking it. We may not all be entirely gleeful, but you can see each and every one of us.

Here's me and my man again. And yes, that is the $9 dress I bought at the outlet. Not a bad purchase, huh?

We had a great time this week. We got to see some people whose company we hadn't enjoyed in several years. We also got to meet the sons of two couples Edwin and I knew from Mobile. Good looking fellas, and I mean the babies. Not the dads. That would be entirely inappropriate.
We enjoyed being at the church and seeing people that we hadn't seen since leaving almost five years ago. It's a strange thing, going back to where you've been. I should probably just think of strange as par for the course. I don't yet, but give me time. I'm sure that super-nature will become second nature soon enough.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Where in Alabama?

We are currently in Mobile. DeLaynie was able to run around the beach for a couple of hours this morning before we left the beach. It was a pretty day. If you're ever having a drought, let us know, and we can come, bringing a nice monsoon with us. Once you're tired of it, we'll leave, and the weather will be restored to its previously dry state. It's a magical thing, really.

Edwin speaks to the church where he held his first paid ministry position. He was the part time minister to youth there from the time of his freshman year until we left Mobile to head to ol' Kentucky. He built some good relationships there, and I know that he is very excited about enjoying some time with old friends. I was able to see two of the bridemaids from my wedding, one of whom I hadn't seen since the wedding. It was good to see them both, though I think mommy Hannah might have weirded them out a bit ;).

Today we told my little brother Micah goodbye. It was strange, and sad. I have to admit, this whole going overseas thing still hasn't "hit me," but I'm not totally sure that it will. It didn't hit me that we were having a baby, even after she was born. It just kind of happened, and I went with it. That seemed to turn out okay. Maybe I can get into this whole missionary gig completely free of being hit. Check back for updates on the emotional violence of fully comprehending a situation for which you are completely unprepared.

Friday, March 27, 2009

And I'm Still Alive

This phrase was coined by Olivia on The Cosby Show. What I mean to say is that, despite the stormy wind, rain, and tornado threats, we're still here. In fact, we're having a good time. We went to the outlet mall again today, where I bought a little black dress from Coldwater Creek for $9, and it was a size smaller than I'm used to buying. I haven' t had a little black since losing the weight, so it was about time I got my hands on one. I feel successful.

So, we haven't had much time on the beach, so what? It's not like I tan anyway. We're having fun being here. DeLaynie is enjoying being outside, and she got really wet and silly on the playground at the outlet mall. She doesn't seem too concerned about the rain. In fact, she still wanted to play in the sand, even after walking through the rain to get to the car. There are few things that prevent her from enjoying sand.

Ella is having fun with the fact that there are so many people in one house. There is always someone to pick her up. She loves people. I think that she is going to love being in the training facility for missionary trainees. We'll live in quads with three other families. Imagine all the attention she's going to get!

Tonight we are going to rent a movie and eat doughnuts. Just to make sure that I can't fit into that dress tomorrow. Eh, it still sounds like fun to me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bathing Babes

It's too cool to get in the water, but it's never too cool to put on the girls' bathing suits and take pictures... for a couple of minutes. Last night, when we first got here, I took a few pics. Here ya go!

My aunt gave me this bathing suit when DeLaynie was younger than Ella. I've been saving it up since then, and DeLaynie's finally old enough (or big enough) to fit!

This bathing suit was DeLaynie's when she was Ella's age. I couldn't wait to see how the baby of the fam would look in it. Pretty fab, eh?

Today we went out and DeLaynie got in the sand, her favorite of all substances. It started out so innocently...
DeLaynie loved having her feet covered. Edwin would ask her where her feet were, and you'd see the sand shake a little. It was funny, and De loved it.

Then it escalated. Daddy started burying her deeper and deeper into the sand.

Until her head was all that remained visible.

Now, if you're thinking about calling the authorities on us, you should know that that is a completely genuine smile. She begged us to stay in, and it required a bath to calm her down after we forced her to get out because the sand was chilly. She had a ball, as did her dad and uncle. We're a weird folk, we are.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Going to the Beach!

It may rain the entire time, but I'm pretty excited at the thought of being there. Not here, but there. There's nothing wrong with here, but there seems awfully nice at the moment. Ella's recently been crowned Little Miss Grumpy Pants, a title of which we are quite proud, and I'm hoping that the change of scenery will cause her teeth to complete the process of growing in. The salty air will do that, right?

There is a problem. The girls, Edwin, Micah, and I are all going to be in the van, along with the gargantuan stroller that we rarely go anywhere without. It's a great stroller, but I'm afraid that it's threatening our spacial freedom. In fact, Micah just walked in and informed me that it may not be possible to take his stuff with us. Don't worry. My parents are coming tonight, and they will be able to bring it... hopefully. I don't think I could handle Micah wearing the same pair of underpants for more than two days.

It's hard for pre-baby individuals to imagine all the stuff that a little person requires for even the simplest of trips. A beach trip isn't quite the simplest, either. It requires bathing suits (even if they never get in the water, little kids are so stinkin' cute in their little bathing suits.), tons of sunscreen, three changes of clothing per day since they'll get wet and sandy every two hours, and various weather apparel to deal with moody clouds. There's always that fear that you're going to forget something that is absolutely essential.

My greatest hope for this little vacation is that I'll get some sort of color on my skin. I don't tan. That isn't on the menu, but I can hope to be a slightly deeper shade of off-white. Maybe a tad bit of healthy pink? When all else fails, there is always bronzer, another item I rarely go anywhere without.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Play Time

I'm sitting on my couch as DeLaynie plays in the sandbox outside! It's a weird moment. Normally, I'm no more than five feet from her when she plays outside. I can still see her. She's only 20 feet or so away, but it's so exciting to be able to do something while she plays. The door is open, in case of an emergency, but I don't anticipate any. She's barely moved from her little spot in the sandbox.

Edwin has Ella with him. He went to see a friend for lunch. I owe him pretty big. While DeLaynie was at school, I slept. I slept hard and I slept late. It was great! I eventually got up and leisurely wrote my devotional blog. Oh the joy! Now I'm sitting here, with only one child to care for, and the one I have is the easy one, as long as sand is somewhere nearby. I may need to bake him a cake...

Monday, March 23, 2009

So.... How Was The Party?

Thanks for asking! As our regular readers know, this weekend was the girls' birthday party. It was a bit stressful for Mommy, but we made it! Here is a photographic journal of the day's happenings:

Granny 'Wina (Edwin's mom) with Ella, whose birthday was Saturday. She is now a 1 year-old big girl!

We bought a $2 kiddie pool on clearance, and filled it with sand. It's pretty safe to say that it was DeLaynie's favorite part of the party. :)

Ella was interested in the sand, too.

She, however, only wanted to throw it, and was quickly banned from the beach.

She crawled away to find other fun things to do.
Like watch DeLaynie play in the sand from Daddy's arms. (Awwwwwwe!)

We moved the "beach" from the open sun into the shade of the canopy, forcing DeLaynie to get out for about ten seconds.

I was glad. It gave me a short opportunity to take some pictures of her in her hula skirt. Then she was back in the sand.

It was then time for cake! Ella wasn't totally sure what to do about it.

"Um, what do you want me to do?" You really would think that a kid who puts everything into her mouth, including rocks and mulch, would think to put a cupcake into her pie-hole, but not so much...

She was willing to touch it,

But I had to shove it onto her face in order to give her a taste of it. It made me a little nostalgic for our wedding, oddly enough.
"Mmmmm. This is even better than mulch!"

"It looks like mud, but it tastes like something more wonderful than I have ever dreamed!" From that point, she had no problem understanding what to do with it.

Then it was DeLaynie's turn to blow out the candles. While we sang the famous birthday song, she received a good, squeezy hug from Daddy.

Then, we lit the candles... and she stared at them. Daddy eventually "helped" her blow them out. She didn't see much of a point in wasting her well-earned oxygen.

She preferred to go fly a kite to eating the cake.

So they did. Go, Daddy, go!

Ella watched from a good, far distance, but was much more interested in her cupcake. You go, girl!

DeLaynie found an abandoned plate. "What's this?" you say. "Is she going for the cupcake?"

Nope. This chick is after those Doritos!
But even they can't keep her still. At least she's out of the sand for a few minutes!

So, what did the adults (and teenager) do while all this is going on?

My Granny and Pa found a nice, comfy bench form which to enjoy the festivities.

It's hard for everyone to contain their excitement, as you can tell.

Dad pushed some of the kiddos on the swings. He's still got it!

Micah (my little bro, who is still single, ladies!) and I posed for a photo that I'm considering submitting to Time Magazine.

There was some very interesting conversation.

And some philosophical thinking, apparently.
Isn't he handsome? (He's not single, ladies! All mine! You got that? Mine, mine, mine!)

Gigi (my mom) and Ella went for a slide. Wheeeee!
Back to the kids...

One of 'da boyz (as I like to call the sibling trio belonging to Youth Dude and Awesome Chick) pushed DeLaynie, very gently, on the swings. Those boys need a sister ;)!

We had a Dora pinata. It's the kind where each kid pulls on a string. That way, everyone's involved and no one has to witness the death of a beloved character or animal.

1, 2, 3.... nothing! Seven out of eight strings were pulled, but it was the eighth string that was supposed to open the trap door and release all the goodies. This annoyed Edwin to the degree that he tore the head off of Dora, thus defeating the point of the P.C. pinata to begin with. We have no pictures of Dora's headless body, or bodiless head, in order to protect the children from trauma. Just trust me, it was disturbing.

Granny 'Wina and Grandpa Bob enjoying some snuggle time with a very sleepy (and grumpy) Ella. It was a fun party. Thanks to all the guests for coming, and to my parents and Edwin for all of their super help in preparing, setting up, tearing down, and cleaning up. You guys rock!

These are the cards that 'da boyz made for the girls. Aren't they lovely? I just wanted to make sure that the world got to see them because they did such an amazing job making them. Thanks, guys!