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Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Alien Defenders

 My entire life, I have been a girly girl.  I loved dressing up and make-up and princess stories.  I never really cared too much for action figures or super heroes  (except for my brief crush on Luke Skywalker......give me a break...I was seven!!)  Anyway, I never really cared about any of that until I had a super hero- loving son.   Last year, he wanted a Spider man party, and I have to admit, I actually learned about the villains and "good guys" from Spider man.  This year, it was all about Ben 10 and the alien defenders.  For those of you who may not know Ben 10, he is a high school kid who has a magic watch called an omnitrex which he can use to turn into different alien defenders to fight the "bad " aliens who try to invade earth.  That's the technical version, but for Jeremy, Ben 10 is his passion right now.:)  Our party day started off with "Jet Ray" and Spider Monkey" getting ready to go to the movies with some other "defender friends". 

Jet ray and Spider Monkey

kids couldn't wait to get into the movie theater

Guy and Oscar had to help open the theater...only in Nigeria!!!

Despite a minor power outage before the movie began, all the kids  were able to get tickets and popcorn before the movie started:)

You may be thinking that we went to see a Ben 10 movie...and that would have been absolutely perfect if there had been one out right now....but it wasn't.  We went to see "The Smurfs" and the kids loved it.  That's what Jeremy wanted for his birthday, for his friends to go to the movies with him and then have a Ben 10 birthday.:)

When we got home, there was face painting...

Pinning of omnitrexes on Ben 10...

There was even an "evil" alien who had come into the house and froze some of the alien defenders!!!!  The kids had to work hard to unfreeze the "good guys"...

There were flying saucers to make for the alien defenders to fly out and save the universe...
 And of course, there was cake:)

Jeremy licking his cupcake decoration "Echo Echo"

cute flying saucers:)
 Presents were opened...

And, kids came down from "sugar highs"...

Never in a million years did I ever think i would know who "Spidermonkey" and "Big Chill" are

Before Jeremy went to bed tonight, he told both Guy and me that his birthday party was " the best party ever!"  Of course that warms my heart.  I am sure there won't be too many more years when he thinks my home-made decorating and party games are "cool".  But, I do know that with each passing year, I will continue to grow and become interested in what he wants to know about.  After all, my life would be pretty boring without knowing about Jet Ray, Humoungosaur, Chromastone, Swampfire, Spidermonkey...... Okay, I am going to stop now...this is just too crazy that I am able to recite all of those names!!!:)  We had a great party for Jeremy and we can't wait to see what next year's party will be!!!:)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Glimpse

I was looking out my window today after eating lunch taking a few calming breaths after getting my tantrum throwing precocious strong-willed three year old down for a desperately needed nap.  As I was looking out the window,. i thought I should share with you what I can see out of my window.  These pictures were all taken within about 5's just a glimpse of what is right outside my new flat... 
this is not a usual sight here...usually the horses are so frail they can hardly walk

okada drivers waiting for customers

new office building going up right next store and the dirt road doesn't look bumpy...but you wouldn't believe what   a wild ride it is!!!

Compound right across the street.  Happiness told me a Nigerian owns it.  If you look carefully, you can count 7 cars
woman selling something

canal behind our building....yuck!!

I think I know why Lagos is so can't find a trash can to save your life!!!
There's a glimpse of what I see out my window everyday.  It's strange that I feel like I had to adjust to being back here after being gone, but at the same time, things also feel so familiar...

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Drama Queen of the Drama Room

She's back in the place where she feels most like herself ( other than her room in the glamorous purple building!).  She has complete freedom of expression...and let me tell you...every kind of expression is welcome in this special place.:)

Yep, it was Lizzy's first day of school and she is definitely the drama queen of the drama room!!:)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

You Know you're back in Lagos when...

This past week was my first full week back in Lagos and as often happens, I go through a check list in my head which goes something like this..." I know I'm back in Lagos when..." So I thought I'd share a few of those moments with you.

You know you're back in Lagos when your steak and sausage comes out of a suitcase!

You know you're back in Lagos when you see a man walking down the street carrying a picnic table umbrella like an actual umbrella.

You know you're back in Lagos when the power goes off randomly more than 7 times in one day.

You know you're back in Lagos when your fridge and freezer are in the hallway.

 You know you're back in Lagos when one of your bathrooms becomes your storage you like the toilet under the shelving???:)

You know you're back in Lagos when your son's birthday presents come out of the suitcase you brought back with you.:) 
Lego Batman

omnitrex from Ben favorite super hero!!

dressed up like Ben 10

and a Wii....probably more a gift for the whole family!!!:)

You know you're back in Lagos when you are passed by a speeding truck full of live chickens going to the market.

You know you're back in Lagos when you drive on the road, and as you're driving you almost feel like you are getting carsick from all the potholes and dips in the road.  Yep, I drove the kids over to our other compound today ( thought I shouldn't try to take a picture of myself doing that...both hands on the wheel was much more safe) so they could play on a playground...our new place doesn't have anywhere for the kids to run and play...but I will include a disclaimer about me was a Saturday heavy traffic ...and it is literally about a quarter of a mile down the street from where we live...but I did have to dodge a few okadas.:)

So, that about sums up most of the the things I noticed being back in Nigeria this week...I thought about adding the random men peeing on the side of the road...but thought....naw...I think I have posted plenty about that already...and I guess I just did again!:)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dear Jeremy...

Dear Jeremy, I am writing this letter to you on Wednesday, August 17, 2011.  This is my last night to say that I have a five year old son...tomorrow you will be an entire year older....and I couldn't be more proud of you...

Five years ago today, I didn't even know you were about to come into the world.  Daddy and I had filled out paperwork and sent it in to the adoption agency who filed it in Guatemala and done everything we could possibly do...the rest was in God's hands.  And, if I ever had any doubt in all faded away on August 24, 2005 when I received the phone call which would forever change our lives!!!! You were in this world...born on August 18, 2005....and that was also the birthday of when I became a mother (not to mention your grandma's birthday and your great grandmother's wedding anniversary)...It still takes my breath away that you were in this world for almost a week and we didn't even know it...

I can't tell you your birth story, and sometimes that saddens me.  I wish I could tell you I held you right after you were born and if you cried right away or if you just looked around at the world with your huge brown eyes.  But, one thing I know for were loved and have always been loved since the day you were your birth mother, by your foster mother, and by Daddy and me...

I have many precious moments tucked away in my mind of your past birthdays which always bring a smile to my face (and maybe a few happy tears).  I couldn't ask for a a more special son than you...

I remember holding you for the first time when you were almost three months old.  I remember are so small and your head is so big!:)

I remember taking you to Crystal beach in texas on your first Birthday and how much you loved to throw the sand around and feel the water while Daddy and I held your hands...

I remember your second birthday when you LOVED Elmo and we had an Elmo birthday for you....that was right about the time we discovered you loved pizza...and how you started to eat like Cookie Monster...

I remember your third birthday when you ran and ran around Little Gym in were so happy and full of laughter...during that year, you became the perfect big brother to your little sister...

I remember your fourth birthday...we had just moved to Lagos and didn't know too many people....but you were so brave and made so many friends...the morning of your birthday, you asked me, "Am I four today?" so innocently.:)

I remember your fifth birthday, and how much you loved Spiderman ( and still do).  How confident you had grown in the last year and how your smile was so lights up the room...and your just makes everyone want to laugh along with you...

So, as you start your adventure into your sixth year of being in this world, I can't wait to see everything you accomplish and all the adventures you'll have.  Your life is a book which has new pages added to it everyday.  You can do anything you put your mind to and Daddy and I can't wait to see you grow and change into the wonderful young man you are becoming.

We love you!!!
Mommy and Daddy:)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Cutest Little Paws

 It's back to school time again and I mentioned in an earlier post.  At this time of year, I am kind of returning to my "teacher roots" and love to read stories to the kids about school starting.:)  I am completely psyched this year because Jeremy is in kindergarten....the exact same level I taught for seven years of my life...BK ( before kids).  I have to admit, being the parent is a completely different feeling than being a teacher.  As a matter of fact, if I do go back into teaching, I think my perspective on teaching will be forever changed because I would have children on that go around.  But, for now, I LOVE to be able to stay home with my children and be that Kindergarten teacher when i want to be and mommy the other times.  This week, is when my "inner teacher" has gone into overdrive.  I LOVE children's books.  I can't go into a children's book section at a book store without leaving without buying at least 10.....and that is on the low side.  So, I have really enjoyed sharing stories with Jeremy that I read to my own students while I was in the classroom.  These are some of my absolute all time favorites!!!! ( A Pocket Full of Kisses didn't come out until after I was done teaching...but it is a fantastic book to go along with The Kissing Hand...and for any little one who becomes a big brother or sister).  Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten is a sweet story which follows the alphabet and all the hard work teachers go through to get ready for school. ( Hint hint!)  We Share Everything is pretty much just what it's title says, but it is a wonderful way to get children to talk about ways they can share with each other at school and how to take turns.:)  Then, there is my all time favorite...

The Kissing Hand.  I have been reading this book to Jeremy ever since he started Mother's Day Out when he was two.  Chester Racoon is feeling a little sad and lonely to leave his mother and go to his first day of school....but she gives him a wonderful gift...

a kiss in his hand to keep with him all day long....and honestly how could I resist kissing these hands.  They are the cutest little paws I have ever seen....but I may be biased.:) 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

'Tis the Season of the Long Watermelon

Tonight, I was washing the dishes after the hand...for the " I lost count" time since living in Lagos. ( I decided to "treat" myself to using the dishwasher on the weekends. We only brought 40 dishwasher tablets with us, and those won't last me the whole until my shipment comes's gonna be a date with the sink on weeknights.)  The power went out ( again).  That's what happens when your primary source of power is a generator...I guess the generator at our new place has a lot more "hiccups" than our old place.  But, I know I have gotten really used to living here when i continued to scrub the the dark...without skipping a beat.:)  It kind of brought a smile to my face as I thought about it.  Then, I thought of something else which made me smile...

Today, Happiness went shopping and brought home some watermelon.  As she set it down on the counter, my eyes popped open...I had never seen a watermelon that looked like this...

Happiness could see my eyes and she said, "What is wrong, Madame?"  I told her that I had never seen a watermelon like that before.  She smiled and said "Madame, it is the season of the long watermelon."  I looked at her and said, " I had no idea there was such a season." Then she laughed harder.  She said, "July, August, and September is the season for the long watermelon. The round watermelon's season is before that." Then, I had to smile...I had no idea there were any other seasons in Nigeria than rainy and dry.:)  Just when I was thinking I was getting too used to this place, I really can learn something new everyday.:)

Monday, August 15, 2011


The best way to get used to the water when you are going to go swimming is to just jump right in. And, that's just what I did yesterday at the pool here at our new compound!!! ( pictures to show of that!!!)  But, doing a cannonball is such an exhilarating experience...I wonder why us grown-ups don't do them more often.:)

The best way to get over sleeping in and non-routine summer days is to just jump right in!  Jeremy had his first day of Kindergarten today!  I can't believe it...
Ben 10 is J's theme this year

exploring the classroom

seeing old buddies again:)
 And, just like that...we're back into our routine of early mornings, droopy eyes, bed head, pop tarts and back packs. ( And an extra cup of coffee for me!)  Yep, the best way to get back into the swing of things is to jump right on in:)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Two Sides of the Ocean

On one side of the ocean, the last few days of our visit to the U.S. for the summer came into its final days.  I got to go on one last trip to Meijer, one last stop at Steak and Shake, the kids had that one last time to catch fire flies in the back yard, and we got to have that one last hug and tearful good bye at the airport.  It's funny when your head knows you'll be back again and you'll see your loved ones soon, but your heart just pulls and leaves that empty hollow feeling inside when you have to leave.  I guess that's a tug of war that has always been inside of me...

We had a great last few days at my aunt and Uncle's home in Michigan.  Thank you, Aunt Mary and Uncle Dave!!! We had a great time and have so many memories to tuck away into our hearts!:) 

Jeremy helping Aunt Mary water flowers

the only pic of Mary and me together (by Jeremy)

Jeremy and Olivia:)

One last swim in almost no humidity!!!

warming up with Aunt Mary

 Now, I'm on the other side of the ocean sifting through my bags and trying not to think of everyone I miss on the other side of the ocean.  The kids and I were so happy to see Guy at the airport.....we are soooo lucky he is a husband who will take the time to come out on the two (or more) hour bus ride to the Lagos airport to greet us ( It is a God send after a 12 hour trans-Atlantic flight with two kids by myself!!)  He even found someone to help me out to get our 5  fifty pound bags of loot we brought back to Nigeria with us.:)   When we got back to our looked a little different.  Over the summer, Guy moved us into our new place so our old place could go under renovation. ( I have to admit...the compound we were in before was getting a little tired looking).  But, I don't know what's worse.....tired or PURPLE???

Living room and dining room...gotta love the purple trim around the windows!:)

Living room

lovely view of Victoria Island ( ocean in the distance)

the saving grace....a dishwasher!!!!!

for all my European friends...a European size oven!!!  we won't be roasting a turkey in that oven!

our hallway....with a fridge and freezer because the kitchen is too small to fit them!!! 

Guy converted one of the bathrooms into a storage room!!!  I am glad I married an engineer!!!

Jeremy's room....yep...that's him sleeping getting over the jet lag:)
It seems since I arrived back here on Thursday night, I have been sorting through our bags and trying to find out where I should put everything.  Guy and Happiness did such a great job of putting things away and unpacking, but I am a little out of my "type A" element with not knowing where everything is.:)  I guess while I am on my scavenger hunt, it will help me get through the "blues" I am feeling being on the other side of the ocean from everyone again.  To all of our family and friends we visited over this summer, know we love you all and will miss you until we get to see you again on your side of the ocean!:)

  Now, I really have to do something about that purple....that is going to drive me crazy!!!:)