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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bringing home the bacon...

Guy has been gone in Port Harcourt for the last week (or PH as it is commonly referred to here in Lagos), and when he came home...he brought presents!!!!  Let's just say he really knows how to "bring home the bacon"!!!!  He brought us four packages of bacon from Port Harcourt which is brought in from the U.S.!!!! The kids love it when he comes back from there with the bacon!!!! ( I'm not kidding, either!)
The kids were so happy to have him home.:)  Guy loves wearing his Nigerian tie dye outfit in the airport.  He gets lots of compliments.:)
And a few more random pictures of the kids getting ready for the Easter holiday.:)

Tick- tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick- tock.....t- minus 50 hours and counting until we are on a flight for our South African holiday!!!!!:)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring has Sprung!!!

Spring has sprung in Lagos!!!  It's really here!:)

  Complete with the Easter bunny...

cotton Candy and Egg painting

more cotton candy!!!

and more egg painting!!!:)

face painting

and an egg hunt!!!:)

saying good bye to some good friends we've met here...
 And getting ready for the Easter holiday coming up!!!

And looking forward to our much anticipated trip to South Africa later this week!!! Happy Spring everyone!!:)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Life's Little Gifts

There is a very famous quote from John Lennon which goes:

"Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans."

I almost feel like that quote was meant just for me although it was written for his son in his 1980 song "Beautiful Boy." But, when I sit and think about it, it is so simple, yet so very very true.  I LOVE to have things planned out and know exactly what will happen next.  I have never liked surprises, and you wouldn't have believed how detailed my lesson plans were when I was teaching!   But, guess what!!!! Life just isn't that way!!!  No wonder I have felt exhausted almost all of my life.  I have been fighting against something that I was NEVER EVER going to beat.  It only took me 35 years to finally start to figure it out!!  God has an amazing sense of humor by sending me to Nigeria to experience what life is like when none of your plans work out!:)  And you know what??? It is a little uncomfortable for me...kind of like learning how to ride a bike for the first time.  You are afraid you'll fall off , but you also know how much freedom you'll have once you have this thing down.  Slowly, I am learning to see the freedom I can have by letting go of the plans I think I need and starting to pay attention to what is right in front of my just never know what little gifts you may find if you have the time (and aren't busy making other plans)...
Beautiful children in a faraway place...

experiencing their joy...
Or the simple gift of a coconut from a teacher who has no "real" money to give to show appreciation...

Or do do (pronounced doe doe) a.k.a. fried plantains made by Happiness simply because she knows I like them...I never told her to make them...

or a little nibbler...
I swear I did NOT tell him to do this....he put on the ears and grabbed the carrot all by himself!

And a surprise gift from a friend who has since moved away from Lagos.  Sent across continents (and arrived before the delivery of packages was cut off!!!  Thank you Angela and Gerry!)

I read what it said, but I had no idea the quote was Nigerian.  The gift of friendship is evident to me in so many ways every single day through emails, phone calls, messages, conversations,comments, a simple smile or a shoulder to cry on.  There are so many gifts in all of our lives each and every day that may go unnoticed while we are making other plans.   And, so, I guess I'll end this post the way it began ...with a quote.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Today has been a struggle for me.  Elizabeth has a spirited feisty darn hot temper....and (a hem), I have no idea where it could have possibly come from.  We have been working with her on some "anger issues" (which are definitely NOT from my side!!!) ( I am sitting here with my tongue in cheek.)  I'm struggling with trying to get her to grow up, when deep down I want both my kids to stay little forever.  I'm afraid of them getting older....I mean I am just now feeling like I am getting this Mom thing only took 6 and a half years, and then they go ahead and change on me!!!!!  They just keep on getting bigger!!  How dare they!!!!  When do I get to sit back and relax and look at them and say, "Wow!  I did a great job!  I've got this thing down!" I fear change....I really really really don't like it.  I'd rather watch paint dry or ride an okada down Ozumba Mbadiwe (wait...I would really like to do that!!) or pick up the endless piles of crumbs from under my son's seat after I've told him 1, 437,204 times to chew with his mouth closed and eat over his plate. After all, what will his girlfriends think of him...I'll have to look at them and sigh and say, "I tried, I really really tried!"  Anyway, we are getting off the point, but I think you understand what I mean.  When does life just stop and not change???  The answer is ...well....NEVER!!!  And all this change makes me retreat into a very scary place called my brain.  I am a second guessing, worrying, always wondering but never wanting other people to know kind of girl.  Oh, and I also HATE, HATE HATE to be wrong!  Just ask my husband.....some fights have gone on for days just so I could show him ( even when I knew the point I was arguing was completely wrong....I just didn't want to lose.)   I know, I sound like a "perfect" wife.  But, please keep all the compliments to yourselves....I don't know if I would be able to handle all of the adoration!.:) ( ha ha!)  So, I guess I just proved who my daughter really does take after in this family!

After change, my next biggest fear is of "letting go".  Letting go of what I think I should be instead of looking at what I really am and accepting it.  Letting go of whatever control I think I have living in Lagos...because once you finally realize that there isn't too much control you have over a lot of things'll be a lot happier and surprisingly you'll have all that "fretting time" freed up to drink more wine!!!:)  Who knew!  Letting go of worrying about what other people will think of me.  That's a HUGE one for me....I have been a life long card carrying member of the " I hope everyone will like me club" and though sometimes I "fall off the wagon", for the most part, I have started to let that go.  And I guess that goes right along with letting go of trying to be the "super mom".  What will people think of me if I'm not that mom who tries to do everything right? What if I do put yesterday's Goldfish crackers in today's lunch because they are just too precious to throw out??  What if I don't give my kids a bath one night and count them going in the pool as "bath time"?  I was always waiting for that huge alarm to sound.  The one that will go off with the sound of a 1940's European police car siren and someone will be announcing over a loud speaker to the entire world that I am a  bad mother.  Or maybe that was just what I thought would happen in my head.  (Did I just write that for everyone to see?)

It turns out that NOTHING happens.  All those times I was worried about what other moms and people would think of me as a mom actually was just about me.  It turns out that I'm actually not the center of other people's universes, and being a mom isn't about what other people think of's about how I feel as a mom and what my own "little people" think of me.  And, the best thing is that it turns out that these "little people" have very short memories.  Just after Jeremy told me "This is the worst day EVER!!!" because I forgot to charge his DS (Heaven Forbid!...never mind the time I had to get off an airplane and be escorted back to the gate area because he left his charger under a seat!!!!).  He came back over to me five minutes later and said, "I love you, mama.  Can I give you a butterfly kiss?"  And today when Elizabeth screamed at me "No, I can't go back down that hall, my feet hurt, I just walked down the hall already!!!!" when I told her she needed to go back and brush her teeth.  About thirty minutes later, she  made me this and handed it to me....

So, I decided that if my kids can let things go, then I can too.  I want to "be in the moment" with my kids and use all that time I spend worrying about what other people are thinking to enjoy all the moments I can with my kids.  I mean, I waited so long to be a mom, why am I going to waste so much of the time I have with them worrying about something that doesn't even really matter ??? If my kids are happy and healthy and well- adjusted, then I must be doing my job.:) I can't change the fact that they will change and get older, but I can let go of some of the worry I have.  Maybe I can handle change in small doses...very small doses...extremely small doses...OK OK...microscopic doses.:)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Finding Happiness

I meant to write a few posts over the weekend, but things got too busy around here...there was a lot going on.  I was looking over some pictures from the past weekend, and it struck me as I was loading them to the computer that this weekend was one of those times I felt at home here and could feel real happiness.... 

OK, so Guy about to pass out from blowing up all the balloons for Lizzy's party doesn't really seem like happiness....I don't think he was feeling too happy at this point either!!!:)
 But, Saturday was a personal high light for Jeremy...he got the game ball at his tee ball game.  Let me just tell you how happy it makes me to see him smile.....I think he lights up from within with his happiness...

And, what four year old little girl doesn't find happiness in her birthday party????

the sweaty photographer....(I'll explain later)

 Adults settling in for a long afternoon of four year old partying....we all had a little bit of " happiness" in our cups!!!:)
and the REAL Happiness in the kitchen...she brings me A TON of happiness with her cooking!!!:)

the pinata actually worked!!!

tacos for the "fiesta" were a hit!:)

birthday girl not sure what to think when everyone was singing to her...

but, she was filled with happiness when she blew out her candle!

 On Sunday, we met a friend of Guy's at the Hotel Bon Voyage on V.I.  I am always impressed at how deceiving places can look here.  From the road, I really wasn't too sure what to think, but when we went inside, there was a beautiful courtyard and covered area and a bar....all the happiness I need!!:)
Elizabeth looking out over the lagoon at the shanty village seen from the hotel pool area
Nigerian fishermen chasing fish into their nets by splashing the water and tapping the boat

how can one not be happy looking at these two???? ( sorry if I'm biased)
It's funny that finally after living here for two and half years, I am just now getting to feel more comfortable here.  It takes a while, but I think it is true that you can really find happiness anywhere you just have to know where to find it....

whether it's in a filthy dirty , purple compound or
right out on the streets of Victoria Island....

happiness can be just have to look for it...
(pictures courtesy of the "sweaty marine turned photographer")