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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

There's Something about Kisses

Today, some members from Ishahayi Beach School Foundation headed back out to the beach school, but this time it wasn't business as usual...
There were heavy boxes of mysterious things to be hauled...
There were mysterious red noses found on all the children...
And I do mean ALL the children!!!
Who would have known that there was clown in our midst?  Kisses the clown came for a visit out to the beach school for their Christmas party today.  The children were thrilled.  We did have to talk to Lady Salami at our last school visit about bringing a clown for the party to make sure it wouldn't scare the kids, and she even prepared the children by talking about what a circus clown was.:)

Once again, the children there flashed their beautiful smiles and sang a rendition of Feliz Navidad which I never ever thought I would hear in small Yoruba fishing village in Lagos, Nigeria! What a small world we live in!!:)

It was a truly great experience seeing the children enjoy Kisses the clown and have fun and laugh.  Many of the children saw her immediately and started to laugh, but they had no word to say what she was.  So, today, the learning which took place was that of laughing and learning about what a clown can do for your spirits.:)

And when we were leaving, there was a random boat pulling up with church people getting off of it.    This is so never know what to expect.:)

Monday, November 28, 2011


Okay, so this Barbie isn't really a sign, but it sure was a surprise when my friend, Suzieta , gave it to Elizabeth for a Christmas gift.:)  I never thought I would see "Naija Princess" on a Barbie doll package...I just had to share!:)

There are definitely lots of signs of least on our compound this past weekend:)

My good friend, Karin, had the kids over to roll out some gingerbread (pepparkaka) cookies...and I don't know what other smell says Christmas quite like gingerbread...

Then, she had us over on Saturday night for a Christmas party along with the kids.  We had some typical Swedish food (since she is Swedish)....sausages (korv) cut in quarters to represent the prince's crown and of course Swedish meatballs (kottbullar) (Karin's are the best!), gingerbread cookies (pepparkaka) , and last but certainly not least, glogg. This swedish wine drink is amazing, and I highly recommend anyone to try almost feel like the snow is falling gently against your window pane.:)
The kids loved the food,too:)  Once again, I am amazed at all the great people we have met while we have been here. Who would have thought I'd get a Swedish lesson in Lagos??!!:)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy (Late) Thanksgiving!!!

For this girl who grew up in the Midwest United States, there is something a little weird about going outside in the African heat on Thanksgiving day...but that's just what the kids and I did yesterday.:)  Since they go to American schools, the kids have Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving...but poor Guy doesn't... I told him that we should count the Muslim holiday he had off a few weeks ago as his Thanksgiving...but that's just not the same...

So, while he was at work, I got the preparations ready for Thanksgiving dinner for 14 adults and 4 children...and I took the kids down to the tennis court to run off a little bit of steam:) ( BTW, I couldn't have done it without Happiness and Jean-Marie doing the cooking..I found out I am great at delegating who should cook what....but, as for actually cooking....I'd rather do the tasting!)

 My very good friend, Sherry, and I usually get Thanksgiving ready together for the past three years we have been here. But, this year, she isn't here because she had to go back to the U.S. for a while.  With alot of Skyping with her, I was able to plan the dinner along with her husband, Guy, her cook and of course, my Happiness.:)

Getting things ready:)

Lizzy with Bob and Sherry's dog, Venus:)
We had three turkeys from the U.S. to fry up for are the chefs:)

The "littles"

The "inspectors"

The "magic hands" in the kitchen:)

cute little turkeys made by my friend, Adriana:)

Getting ready to eat!:)

Jean Marie, the best pie maker around!:)
Happiness, Jean Marie, Benson and Fatai enjoying the Thanksgiving food:)

It was really fun to be around our friends here for Thanksgiving.  We are all here away from our friends and family back home, and living so close to one another we all become like extended family.:)  I hope all of you had a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving wherever you may be.  I know I am so thankful this Thanksgiving for my great friends and family.:)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


There is something about the Thanksgiving holiday which feels a little more special to me now that we live overseas.  It's funny, I know, but it took moving out of the U.S, for me to appreciate this holiday.  It is a holiday which is truly American, and it reminds me of home.  So, it is really special that we can celebrate here in Lagos.  Not only can we celebrate it here, but we can teach other people from different countries about this holiday.  Since there are children from all over the world in Jeremy's classroom, it was so fun to talk to the children about Thanksgiving and also share some typical "Thanksgiving foods".:)

I brought oven is too tiny for a turkey:)

lots of food:)
 There was a mother in Jeremy's class from South Africa, and she said that she had pumpkin pie today for the first time and loved it!:)

 I still haven't figured out how to be in two places at the same time, so I wasn't able to be at Elizabeth's school for her celebration....but I did manage to get a few pictures beforehand...

I wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to all of my family and friends...American or not.:)  I am truly thankful for all of you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

2:45 a.m.

What can happen at 2:45 in the morning?  Lots of things, I guess. Maybe coming home late from a great party or staying up late talking to some great friends, waking up with my daughter who needs just one more kiss to fall back to sleep.  But, unfortunaltely most of the time when you are woken up at that hour, it is usually for something "not so good".  I am writing this post not to scare any of my friends or family,  but to help me one day look back on my life here and remember how fortunate that I had never had to go through this before...and hopefully never will...

At 2:45, something woke me...I wasn't sure what it was, but I knew I wasn't dreaming when I saw Guy bolt up also.  I asked him "What the %$#@ was that?!"  He is usually pretty calm under any kind of pressure, but I could sense he was a little nervous also.  We both got up and then we heard it again.  It was  a pop, pop, popping sound.  I didn't want to even think I knew what that sound was.  Guy thought maybe it was fireworks (which do seem to go off randomly around here for different celebrations....but I have never heard them in the middle of the night).  I wanted to believe that the noises were fireworks, but then they started up again and this time, there was no mistaking what the sounds were.....gunshots being fired by a semi automatic weapon.   That was the first time I have ever heard gunshots from a machine gun fired in real life...I had only heard them in the movies before.  The shots went on for about five minutes...and thankfully the kids didn't wake up.  Guy thought he heard them coming from one direction and I thought I heard them from the other.   My thoughts were racing that maybe someone would get into our compound.  But, thankfully, I knew better than to even open the door to peek outside.  After the shots stopped, we both got back into bed, but I had a really hard time going back to sleep wondering if the guards at our front gate had been hurt, and knowing I shouldn't even go out and check.

Thankfully, this morning, we found out it wasn't at our compound.  It was just a few blocks from us.  There have been different reports about what exactly happened.  One report said that some armed robbers were carjacking a car and firing shots nearby our compound.  Another report places the gunmen even closer to our compound...

It just makes me realize that even though I may start to feel comfrotable here, and things aren't so scary...I do need to be vigilant about our surroundings.  Especially at this time of the year.  Every harmattan season brings Christmastime with it, and unfortunately, this time of year also brings more robberies and shootings in Lagos.

I don't want my family and friends to worry about us.  We are safe now, and I promise we will be very aware of our surroundings and take our safety and security very seriously.  Gotta love Harmattan season in Lagos!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

'Tis the Season

The harmattan season, that is, which can only mean one thing!!!!  Time to set out the Christmas decorations once again:)  After Jeremy's soccer game this morning, we decided since the harmattan was just right, why not put up all the Christmas decorations?  This is our third time in Lagos to get ready for the holiday season.:) Of course, everything is a little bit accelerated because we won't actually be here for Christmas...but we have a good time getting ready for this very special holiday!:)
Lizzy putting decorations on the tree

Jeremy and the "elf on the shelf"

 Of course, it is a little strange going outside to eat a Popsicle after getting ready for this "winter" holiday:)
 The end to a day of getting ready for Christmas....watching "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".  Never mind that our Thanksgiving decorations are up also!:)

 There is something special about each and every Christmas tree.  I think that every Christmas tree has a story to tell.  I really do prefer the "eclectic" that tells a story over time....which is never finished...but builds every year...
 There are the homemade ornaments  which I can't wait to show the kids' friends when they are older!  Great blackmail!!!:))

Bite marks from when J was 18 mos.:)

Lizzy's tree

 First Christmases...

 Places we've been...

 Special friends we've met along the way...

 And of and remembering where we started...

 And always remembering the "reason for the season" even if there is a little bit of a" Nigerian Twist"...
 It is different getting ready for the holiday season even after setting up decorations for the last two years here.  There is something strange about 85 degree heat and Christmas decorations which don't seem to mix, but this is our life for now, and just like the story on our Christmas tree it is a story which is not yet finished.:)  I hope you all have a great time getting ready for the holiday season!:)