Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Better still...

Is escaping into the mountains, which we did as soon as Joelie got home early from work. I want to write sometime about how Sam comes alive in the mountains...so much like his dadoo. Amelia is much more like me thus far, spending much of her time falling on her bottom saying, "hurt you, hurt you."

All for tonight,


So, the babes have been taking FOREVER to fall asleep these summer nights. Even with a black out shade--it's no use. Their normal sleep hour of 7pm (at the latest) has moved to 8:30 or 9! The bad thing is that they are waking up early. So, this means crazy and tired children until nap time. Boo. Take this morning for example. I decided to stay home from their music class because I could sense the craziness in the air and would rather it happen at home than in a class! I was trying to take a shower (first mistake) and Amelia kept opening the shower door and trying to shove her baby under the water to "wash it." When I told her repeatedly to close the shower door she lost it and went wailing out of the bathroom. In her journey out of the bathroom Sam's thumb got slammed in the bathroom door. Whew. Sam then started going CRAZY and Amelia continued her shouts and wails to "WASH IT!!" I ran Sam upstairs to get him some tylonal for the pain. While I was giving it to him Amelia managed to reach the bottle, grab it off of the cabinet and pour it all over the floor. Sam then started crying harder because of the "MESS!!!" and Amelia started crying because the medicine got inside her flip flop and made it sticky. Hmmm. I was about to lay down on the kitchen floor and start wailing myself, but then a thought popped into my head. Paradise. 'Who wants a muffin?!" I shouted over the roar. Silence. Then cries of "Treat! Muffin! Treat!" I managed to get Sam in the sling where he calmed down immediately and lay his head on my shoulder (awww) and got Amelia and her beloved babies out the door. Ahhh, the outdoors. Birds chirping. Even ducks waddling across the street. We made it to Paradise Bakery with no incidence and had a nice time together eating, looking at all the "letters!", getting caffinated (only me, I promise) and then loaded back up (Amelia in the sling this time like I promised her--happy as clam) and walked home.

I know this was a temporary fix as we obviously can't go to Paradise every morning for treats. Sometimes, though, you just need a little escape. I was oh so thankful for this one:) Jen

P.S. After returning home from Paradise I was watching Sam dig in the sandbox and listening to Amelia playing with her animals in their room. When she was quiet for a bit too long I went to check on her. I didn't see her anywhere in the room and just as my heart started to quicken she burst out of her closet and said, "Hi!" with a very guilty looking smile. She was holding a tube of toothpaste. Hiding in her closet sucking on a toothpaste tube. Oh dear.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Garden children...

The babes spent this afternoon outside in the back yard helping Joelie plant our garden. When I went out to see the progress they were literally dripping with snails and worms. Even I was a bit grossed out but couldn't stop taking pictures because they just looked so adorable and were so very,very,very happy. I really think Sam was in paradise:) My favorite was when I went around the corner and peeked into their "little house" and this is what I found. *sigh* I sprinted over to Joel to tell him to come look and we just stood for a moment and basked in their cuteness until we lifted up the box flap to let them see us. Anyway, here's the link to many more pictures from the afternoon:)

Hmmm, wonder where Amelia got those beautiful curls?

Look at that hand full of worms!

Happy summer days to you! Jen

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In Reply

You're amazing. You have lived with me, encouraged me, travelled across the ocean and into the desert mountains with me, you have waited home alone way too many nights. You have taken my crazy mood swings in stride. You have always been beside me. You have pushed me forward, and at times have pulled me up and then shoved me in the right direction. I like to think I can live on my own, that I am self-sufficient. I think every man likes to believe that. I know for me that is not true. It hits me in the face every time you leave town and I am paralyzed. Forget to eat. Cannot function. It's terrible.

My time with you, our time together, has been full. It is now fuller than ever before. Brimming over with joy and happiness. I feel that though stretched beyond limits I thought we would have broken at, we have endured and have become closer. Like the Frey's told us, before you told them they were wrong about something else, our love is so much different now then 10 years before. I couldn't understand it before. I can't say it's less or more, just different. We had a giddy love, now we have a knowing love. It's the same, but different. Like Nepal.

The poem, written in pre-algebra class at Tomball College, that still has not made it into a frame says it all.

I Love Your Chicken

I love your character
I love you hair
I love your carefree will
I love your arms, no big deal
I love your compassion
I love your new fashion
I love your fresh thinking
I love your little pinky
I love your deep insightful poems
I love your thoughts on our different homes
I love your outlook on life
I love your perfect height
I love your giving heart
I love your mom's little shopping cart
I love your stubborn soul
I love your body whole
I love your feisty temper
I love your dirty clothes hamper
I love your view on things others are blinded of
I love your deep, unconditional, forgiving love
I love your over consideration of others
I love your love and affection for your brothers
I love your beaming Christmas spirit
I love your leather jacket and how you wear it
I love your need for your family
I love your dances like Emily
I love your childlike love for God
I love your want of a Great Dane dog
I love your emotional roller coasters
I love your chrome toasters
I love everything about you
I love you

Joel J. Hunt 1998

He's my baby and I don't mean maybe...

So, Joelie, it's been ten years!!!!! Ten years of adventure, challenge, laughter, growth, refinement, joy, grace, sorrow, forgiveness-all of the things that love is really. I simple cannot imagine life without you, and how I pray that I never have to. When I think of the last 10 years with you I think of (in random order),

* Hiking Puumanamana.
* Skinny dipping at Makapuu lighthouse:)
* Always walking to the mailbox together.
* Walking to the store.
* You making me laugh with your antics.
* Tripler- eating lunch together, you visiting my office and commenting on my "cubicle voice", me loving you in your scrubs.
* Hale Koa. Ahhh, I miss that place.
* Always fearing that you will die while commuting on your bicycle.
* You cheering me on in school, in ESL training, in my job, in motherhood.
* Your flowing beard in San Marcos. Such the wild, river man you were!
* Singing hymns together in the car.
* Our first children, the jackson chameleons.
* Standing under the waterfall in Honduras.
* The sadness and anxiety during our struggle to conceive.
* The rock you were when my grandma died.
* The joy we felt when you got accepted into PA school.
* The way you cried when the Dr. said there was no alternative to me having an immediate C-section. You cried my tears. Oh man. In a strange way, I felt more loved at that moment than almost ever.
*Driving you to work in San Antonio in the wee hours of the morning-ditto in Honolulu-making you laugh with my unexplainable hyperness.
* Eating out. A lot.
* The Lord's faithfulness to us, despite our extreme foolishness! Always drawing us closer.
* Chai tea and oat cakes.
* Room 222.
* Jack Johnson concerts.
* The Vanagon breaking down. Again. Also, how fun it was when it worked:)
* Road trip following Bub from SLC to Idaho to Montana.
* You and John Mike and your crazy ways.
* Seeing you sleep next to our precious babes each night for their first year. I will cherish those memories forever.
* The way you swaddled Sam and Amelia like a pro. Seriously, I could never do it as well.
* Watching you watch our children with joy in your eyes. Best gift ever.

I love you dear husband. I thank the Lord for you, and for allowing us to know each other for so many years of our lives. Happy 10th Anniversary (tomorrow). May there be many,many more to come.
All my heart, Jen

Monday, May 18, 2009

Anatomy 101: Amelia style

So, a couple of days ago I walked into our room and saw Amelia sitting on the bed intently looking at my People magazine-- a girl after my own heart:) Ahem. Anyway, she kept pointing at a page and saying, "Milk, milk" and so I assumed it was a milk advertisment or something. When I got closer I saw that it was, in fact, a summer swimsuit spread of celebrities in their bikinis. Their tops were quite skimpy and Amelia was pointing to their exposed flesh exclaiming, "Milk! Milk!" :) She is still quite enamored with breast feeding and obviously remembers it well. She loves to watch babies nursing, loves to nurse her babies and animals, loves to point at women's chests and exclaim "Milk!" What a funny bunny she is.

She did something similar when we were shopping in a clothing store a few weeks ago. There were big posters of girls in swimsuits and she kept pointing and yelling, "Milk! Milk!' The sales girl kept looking at us with a mixed expression of " Oh what a cute little girl, why is she saying milk?" I just acted like I was completely perplexed as well:)

In other news, Sam surprised me yesterday by counting to 10! So, here are the little ragamuffins outside today eating pudding after playing in water in the warm, warm sun. They are dirty, one has no clothes on, but at least the grandparents get to see Sammy in action! Is his little voice not the sweetest thing ever? The other clip is Amelia re-discovering what eyebrows are( Just so you don't get confused, she has been calling Sammy "sister" lately. It is so strange.)Oh, anyone want to take a guess at what Amelia is whispering to her baby as she says, "Shhh shhh shhh" in the last clip? It took me a second to figure out what it was.

Lastly, I know this picture is blurry but I love it still. Sammy had stolen a toy from Amelia (or something) and I had asked him to say he was sorry and give her a hug. He came over to give her a hug and they just kept hugging and hugging. Then they stopped and then Sam said, "More hug" and they would smile and hug again. This went on long enough for me to grab the camera and get this one fleeting shot. So precious.

All for tonight. I have been having terrible allergies and think I'll just go to bed! Jen

Thursday, May 14, 2009

" Hello my daughter, hello my son."

These were the first words we heard as we walked into their small apartment. He is 73, she is 65. They have been in America for 8 months after fleeing Iraq and spending five years in Jordan at a refugee camp. We will never know the depth of tragedy their lives have seen.

After we were greeted with those most endearing words, we were asked to sit down and in front of us was placed lemon poppyseed bread and orange juice. We told them about our lives through a translator and they listened with great interest. When it was their turn to share, he first repeated over and over how thankful they were to America for allowing them to live here. How he wanted to thank us as representatives for America. I felt small and humbled to be considered a representative for America:)
He didn't tell much about life in Iraq, only that they have seen much trouble in their lives. That they lived right across the street from each other growing up, never had children and hope that our lives will be interwoven as family. That they hope they will be like an extra set of grandparents to Sam and Amelia. " My son and my daughter, we are so thankful for you. We do not want to be a burden to you."

We had to hurry and leave as they were missing part of their English class, but oh do we look forward to meeting again. We left their little home with tears in our eyes and with two children wildly high from the poppyseed cake and Kit Kat Bars they were offered and readily inhaled. Seriously, they were going nutso. Happy nutso though, which was okay.

This was our first experience as family mentors with the International Rescue Committee . I thank the Lord for this wonderfully unique but so specific to our hearts (does that make sense?) opportunity that He has given us. Jen

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Welcome sweet baby Isaac!

A huge congratulations to Tim and Shanyn--new parents to this beautiful baby boy! He was born yesterday and weighed in at 8lbs 9 oz. Everyone is doing well and we are so excited about our new nephew:) Praise the Lord for this wonderful gift!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Coming soon...

Okay, not REAL soon. I'm a planning on a potty training boot camp in July--when my mama comes (surprise mom!). I wasn't sure they were even interested because they don't like sitting on the big potty at all. So, I saw this potty at a consignment shop and picked it up, intending to save it for boot camp later this summer. As soon as Amelia saw it she started trying to pull her diaper down to sit on it! So, here she is practicing:) It is now hidden away until I am ready to start this process. Any mamas of boy/girl twins out there that want to give some wisdom on the subject?
All for now, Jen

P.S. The "new bed" process is still chugging along just fine. Nap time went by the wayside for a few days and it got me a little worried (not getting out of bed but just not sleeping and waking Sam up in the process --grrr.), but today was back to normal--thank goodness! I have started playing some classical music in the nursery the past few nights and that has seemed to help them fall asleep a bit faster. Always an adventure!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Afternoon adventure...

Joelie got off work early today and decided to take the babes into the mountains. I'm pretty sure they had LOTS of fun:) I did as well, mostly laying on a blanket in the back yard reading a good book. Ahhh.

Happy weekend to you! Jen

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

"We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree...

... and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things." Charlotte Mason

I have been reading a book about Charlotte Mason and her educational philosophies, which I adore by the way, and a big part of her philosophy is nature study and slowing down to look at nature with your children. Really look at it. This week we have been looking at snails in the back yard. They are very interesting creatures! I love getting to look at life through new eyes again, it is quite a gift.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Life is happening beyond the "big girl bed", though it still is the big news around here. At least it is big news to Joel and I. Amelia is pretty laid back about the whole thing! I know I said I was through with the updates, but I can't help myself from saying that she climbed right in at nap time and went to sleep! OK, really, I'm moving on.

We have started taking the babes to a music class on Tuesday mornings. It is through a program called Youth City Artways and I had heard such wonderful things about it that I thought we'd give it a try. It is wonderful! My personal favorite time is when we snuggle with our little ones while the teacher plays the guitar and we sing "You are my Sunshine." Awwww. They get to experience lots of different instruments, learn about rhythm and control (Shake, shake shake, STOP. Shake, shake, shake, SLOW. Etc.) It is so much fun to have Joelie with us as it is his day off. Sam is really digging the whole thing. He is our little music man. Amelia is usually rolling around on the floor by the end of class and mostly enjoys the play ground time afterwards:)
Here they are on the play ground. I love it because it is just their size and we are always the only ones on it!!

Let's see, Sammy is really into this new activity called Teddy Mix and Match. It is a memory game but I just keep the cards right side up and he goes to town finding all of the matching pairs. I love to watch him do it. He started out just sitting long enough to find a few pairs but the last time he played he focused long enough to match all but two pairs. Meanwhile Amelia runs around and occasionally picks a bear up to rock or hug or something:) Sammy amazes me with his attention span sometimes. Yesterday he worked so hard on his "play-dough sculpture" and was so proud when he finished it. I just wanted to eat him up.

There have been farm visits and our friend Evan moving in with us for a while while he starts PA school and finds housing for he and his soon to be bride, an "adopt a refugee family" program through the IRC that we are about to begin....life is full here and it is good. Growing and changing and refining for all of us.

All for now, Jen

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The question of the hour is (Update #3)...

How will this big girl

sleep in her big girl bed tonight?

Last time I looked at the spy cam she was snuggled up with her bunny saying "new bed, new bed, new bed" over and over again:) I'll let you know how it goes! Jen

So the first night went great! She fell asleep just fine and slept the whole night with out a peep:) She did go to bed late, though, and was really sleepy and so we'll see how nap time goes today. Regardless, the first night was a roaring success. Hurray Amelia!

Update #2. Nap time was a little tougher, as expected, but not terrible! I stood watch by the video monitor and as soon as her little feet would touch the floor I would bust in the room like the FBI (okay, not really) and put her back in bed. It took about 7 times before she gave up and just looked at her book and played with bunny and fell asleep. Hurray! I think the reason it might be easier with Amelia than lots of kids is that she had no attachment to her pack and play bed whatsoever. She was attached to sleeping in our family bed and in her hammock and those were much harder transitions to make than this is seeming to be. Oh, and sleeper Sam just snoozed through it all:)

I promise this will be the last update for a while. I am just SO bad at remembering this milestone stuff that when other mamas ask me about sleep, weaning, walking, talking stages, I have long forgotten. So, this will help me direct them to how our experience was. Bedtime tonight was even better than last. Once again, I was glued to the spy cam and as soon as she touched the ground I went in and she flew back into bed and stayed there until she fell asleep:) I agree with Beth's comment, that we should keep the power of the video monitor going for as long as possible--tee,hee. She does take a long glance towards the door before trying to get out:) Anyway, here is to our big girl sleeping soundly in her big girl bed again tonight!