Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Scenes from Equip #2

Working hard at our newsletter...trying to make wording make sense!
Worship time
M and O in their class of littles...the childcare was GREAT.
George of the original guys who knew William Cameron Townsend, the founder of Wycliffe. His stories were incredible. He also was one of the founders of Young Life.

One of the many skits/illustrations we learned
Our fearless Equip leader, Carl
Diana, with a sleeping O
Daniel yukking it up after dinner (and I chased M through the dining hall while she chased Micah and buddy Gracie)
Daniel hanging with a Wycliffe Hoosier (indy dude) :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Menu Plan for the week of 9/28/09

We're back! Just like they warned us though-Equip was like a mountaintop experience. Easy to come back down to real life and feel like its all downhill. Happily, not everything was downhill when we got back- our church is still a source of encouragement to us. We missed everyone. But the girls are sick, we are all struggling to get back in this time zone and the house is still challenging to live in. Good thing God has mercies new for us every morning:)

Here's what we're eating this week:

Breakfasts: cold cereal, scrambled eggs and toast (w/homemade bread from a wonderful friend from church!), quickbreads or pancakes from mix

Lunches: leftovers, salad, pineapple


Mon: @ friend's house for dinner

Tues: Quick crockpot meal (baked beans in Slow cooker, hot dogs & salad) before meeting w/Pastor

Wed: Spinach Rice Casserole

Thurs: Sicilian Tuna Marinara Pasta

Fri: Homemade Easy Pizza

Sat/Sun: We'll be at my parents to celebrate M's second birthday! I will likely come back with zucchini, tomatoes, apples and pears-yay!

Menu Plan Monday:)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Family Scenes from Equip #1

Family scenes, minus M. Oops. These are from a huge collection that were taken by the leaders of Wycliffe's Equip. I have lots more, so I will look for some more with us in them:) We are back home now and we had a great time. Honestly-were sad to leave, but we missed our home church. Our actual that's another story:) We came back to a lot of work still to be done and no where to put stuff, but we are motivated to get some organization because we are so excited to get to mission field!

Justin is another aviation guy-his daughter got to be great friends with M. Their family will be going to Cameroon too!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wycliffe with grandma and grandpa C

No internet all glad to be back!

The most awesome expressions two grandbabies could have for a picture:)

The fam in front of the beautiful Wycliffe building

M and new friend Gracie at dinner. Yep, about to smooch.

Coolest grandpa in town. Hip hop happenin'

Grandma and O sharing a laugh and an inside joke

Thanks for the fun weekend Grandma and Grandpa C! We love you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Deals-I still love you...

I have to admit I am having a bit of bargain-hunting withdrawls. I have to shut my bloglines quickly when they scream of amazing bargains I am missing. But as wise friends reminded me, they will be there when I get back. As another wise friend told me awhile back-no coupons in Cameroon, so I had better get used to it:)

Anywayz...because i love me some bargains and many of you are wondering why this blog got hijacked by missionary ramblings suddenly-here is a picture of my last great bargain before coming to florida. All of the above was from Rite-Aid. I put a little over $7 on a giftcard for all of the above. My total was $7 after coupons for all of that! Whoo! I used a $5/$25 coupon, a free Huggies coupons, free Mars coupon (thanks Bev!), and a $2 off Nescafe, and a $1.50 off wipes coupon. Yep, it was a sweet deal. Oh and I will be getting $1 back in a single check rebate.

So for once, Rite Aid came through for me. Better step up Walgreens! :)

Smiling Children a must for cute pictures.

Pictures. I should have some for you, but we took a look at our semi "professional" pics from the last couple days and M was having bad times and didn't smile! O isn't looking at the camera either so the pics are almost all duds. Bummer. We're going to try again today.

Classes were good again today. We learned about MK (missionary kid) issues and had a class about resillience (sp? too lazy to look up). We've also spent a lot of time practicing sharing our testimonies and sharing about Wycliffe and related stuffs. Public speaking is getting less and less scary.

Today we had about 15 minutes to create a 2 minute talk and then we shared it in front of 15 people. That's not a lot of time, people! Anyway, it went okay and we get to continue to polish and prep so that we can be ready to share anytime.

Which brings me to the fact that all this sharing and preparing is getting us excited to go! The cares of life had swept away some of our passion for missons for a time. Daniel and I were talking this morning about how its sinking in that this is really happening. Its not a distant abstract idea of "someday" anymore. God willing, we WILL be going to Cameroon in the near future!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Many pictures...soon

We've had our picture taken several dozen times since coming to Equip. By tomorrow many should be on the network here so I hope to have some to post here.

We are halfway through the first week! Some people have said that it seems to be going by slowly-long days etc. But we are loving our time here so much that we're sure it will go too fast.

The kiddos are getting worn out by all the fun they are having in the childcare program. We feel blessed that since the beginning the workers have looked forward to seeing our kids because they've been the only ones not crying most mornings. No glory to us as parents though-some wise person once said that if you claim the good behavior then you ought to claim the bad as well (as I remember the horrible plane ride here;)!

When not engaged in classtime or other actvities they have for us here (visiting the translation Discovery Center, sharing our testimonies, etc.) we've been able to immerse ourselves in missions videos, books and have family time. I pretty much couldn't ask for a more awesome way to spend our time. After dinner tonight we saw some new muli-media that is hot off the presses from Wycliffe. We are excited to share the videos with our churches and friends/family when we get back.

Not only that but we have been able to make friends with the other missionaries-to-be (translators, teachers, boarding home workers, administrators, recruiters, other aviation personnel to name a few) and will be hanging out with some of them in the future evenings.

This weekend Daniel's parents will be joining us here for our free weekend-so we're really excited to see them and spend time with them.

Can you tell we're having a good time:)!?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Equip and relationships

This trip has been worth our time already-in the people we've met and the renewing of our call and vision for working overseas.

The sharing of experiences and perspectives has been invaluable. One thing Daniel and I have realized is how blessed we are in 2 major ways: how supportive our church and our families are of our going overseas to do mission work.

There are a number of people here with less than supportive or even antagonistic families-mostly single young ladies. Their parents have told them they don't want them to be "beggars"-living off other peoples' money.

Not only that but a number of families and singles have home churches that are less than enthusiastic about missions-not opposing it but just not catching any sort of vision. I am praying these people will be conduits for a future missions vision in their churches and elsewhere.

Specifically today we learned about the Biblical basis for partnership development, which isn't just raising support (prayer & financial). Its about relationships. Its exciting to think that this next chunk of time will be focused on intentional relationship building. That way we will be connected to a team of people who care about us and we care and pray about them -and so that they can share the blessing of being involved in building God's kingdom with us!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Florida: where the alligators roam...

and the big nasty snakes too. No one told me that there would be alligators that could outrun me out here! But that's beside the point. We made it to Orlando!

We survived eight hours in a plane with an almost-two-year-old and a 3 1/2 month old. The latter-very good girl in the plane. The former-not so much. The last two hours were somewhat awful, with my precious little one thinking of super creative new ways to disobey her parents and annoy other passengers. Any tips for the ride home would be much appreciated!

Anywhoooo....we arrived safely and have enjoyed pretty much every minute of our stay thus far. The apartment we're staying in is very nice and has 2 bedrooms-a treat for us! There is even a tv with my two favorite channels: HGTV and TLC, although I haven't had (nor probably will I for the most part) a chance to actually turn it on yet:)

There are about 30 participants in this Equip sesson @ Wycliffe and we've started getting to know many of them. Two other families are also planning to go to Cameroon, so it will be neat to get to know them better. Everything seems really well organized here. From what we can tell our time will be well spent-a good mix of learning, practicing skills, and getting things done. Getting us off to a good start in our partnership development journey.

We even met a couple on the van ride to the airport who were interested in our ministry and gave us a business card.

Tomorrow we'll be giving our 3 minute testimony in front of everyone, so I better go practice-and get some sleep:)

And no, we haven't actually seen an alligator, but apparently its not rare to see them-or large poisonous snakes here. Awesome.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New toy and we're leaving on a jet plane!

Friends from church brought us this new "toy" they didn't need anymore for O. I think M is just about as excited as O is. O is a little small still, but I think she'll be enjoying it soon.

A random cute highchair pic that snuck in:)

I think I might like this...

We're leaving for Wycliffe Bible Translators in Orlando tomorrow to begin Partnership Development- I can't believe its finally here!

Loves me some grocery bargains...

...but visiting 4 customer service desks in one day-not so much. But all is well that ends well and after got over the discomfort of asking for corrections, my transactions were mostly fixed. Not only that, but at Target-where I have had more bad couponing experiences than good ones, the LOD (something or other on duty??) told me that yes, what I had wanted to do was perfectly legitimate and that my problems were due to cashiers who misunderstood the coupon policy, not me. I knew that was true, but it was good to hear it from someone in charge. So talk to those customer service peeps! You probably won't regret it.

Target: Took advantage of the Fiber One giftcard deal and spent less than $2 for 5 Fiber one products.
Albies: Took back a bad watermelon and got an overcharge correction to the tune of almost $9 total. I still have that giftcard, but since I am leaving town I used my $5 catalina from last week to purchase a new watermelon, bananas, minute maid lemonade (free w/watermelon), and marked down yoplait yogurt for less than a quarter after catalina.
Walgreens: Free starbucks' icecream! Also paper towels, paper plates for fillers and batteries we need for baby toys:) The chex mix was $0.49 after coupon-all good deals but I had to return later because the icecream rang up full price.

Above is another Target run and the cashier insisted on only one Target coupon per transaction so I ended up spending $17 after giftcards. Not too bad, but not fabulous. The diapers, wipes, and coffee were all things I needed anyway.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Slow Cooker Tomato Bacon Pasta Dish

I took a gamble on this one. The idea came from a recipe we all liked for a baked tomato soup and bacon/pasta casserole. I added fresh tomatoes and zucchini for a little added nutrition.

Here's the basic recipe I used:

Slow Cooker Tomato Bacon w/pasta

2 cans tomato soup
1 can milk
8 oz. cheese
2 cups diced tomatoes (I used fresh)
2 cups diced zucchini
1 lb bacon (anything with this much bacon is going to be good;)
3/4 package penne pasta -half was whole wheat, half regular

Spray crockpot. Put all ingredients in the crockpot on low for 6 hours. Add pasta for last 40 minutes of cooking, depending on how hot your crock runs. I check it every 10 minutes after the first 20 when dealing with pasta. Add more liquid if neccessary.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday food diary

I don't intend to do this on a regular basis, but I didn't write down what I ate all weekend long-so I need to get back into it. I will try to update asap for my own accountabilty. If you don't have any idea why I might do this I am still about 20 pounds from my pre-baby weight. I shoot for the high end of "normal" weight for my height, which is 5'9".


3/4 cup. dannon vanilla yogurt with Fiber one cereal (about 1 cup)
Coffee with skim milk

Snack: (about 2 hours from now this is my plan)
string cheese (shared one with M)
More iced coffee with skim milk and a little sweetener (man I drink lots of coffee!)
lots of water

1 1/2 cups pinto beans
2 TBS 2% cheese
handful cherry tomatoes
TBS fat free ranch
3/4 corn tortilla
Crystal Light
Leftover iced coffee from earlier

Snack:1/4 cup pinto beans & cheese
1/2 c. Kashi cereal with 1 cup skim milk
Thinking of having more fruit

Dinner:will be the moroccan chicken dish with brown rice
1 zucchini cookie our friend Lisa brought over! (yum)

I will update only if I ate something I didn't plan on:) Sorry to bore everyone with this-but its necessary for me right now! ;)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Menu Plan for the week of 9/7/09 (Happy Birthday Dad!)

Its my dad's birthday and in his honor I am going to eat cake. No, actually I am still counting calories-drat! Watching what I eat isn't as much as a drag as I thought, but my problem is that slowly bad habits start to creep back in. Anyway...back to menu planning and not eating that cake. Happy Birthday Dad (Grandpa Blake!).


Monday: Crockpot Pinto Beans (using this recipe for a template)with sliced fresh tomatoes & cheese

Tuesday: Morroccan Peachy Chicken and Rice (in the oven--wow!)

Wednesday: Sicilian Pasta (marinara, tuna, etc.)

Thursday: Our first homemade easy pizza in months!

Friday: Heading to Florida for Wycliffe's Equip onsite course! So excited to start our missions journey PLUS its just the perfect timing for our family needing a break from the unending job of home renovation. SO EXCITED!

We'll be gone for 2 weeks-and I'm not sure about internet access, but I will try to keep updating.

Menu Plan Monday at Orgjunkie!

Bikes and our Backyard

Someday he'll graduate to a big-boy bike. Needs a little more practice first;)

Watching the big kids on their bikes. O thinks everything big sissy does is VERY interesting.

Crockpot Challenge Month in Review

While I am no slow-cooking superhero like Stephanie at Crockpot 365, I did use my crockopt for just about every meal for a month. At first it was extremely challenging because I did not even have a microwave to back me up if I messed up the meal or needed something heated up aside from the main dish. But a few weeks ago we purchased a microwave from "Builder's Bargains" and that has helped a bunch.

Several things that were SO awesome about this challenge that I did not anticipate:
#1: I spent even less than I normally do on groceries this month by a long shot
#2: Our energy bill was crazy low this month! I can't give the crockpot all the credit though-I have only been using a washer and dryer in this house for about a week and a half or so.
#3: I've lost weight! Not just because I started counting calories last week-but before that I lost 5 pounds w/o trying-the first weight I've really lost since 3 weeks after O's birth (she's 3 1/2 months old).
#4: I've been stretched to be creative in the kitchen. Not just the crockpot's limitations, but also in using things we've been given-ton's of free pasta and peanut butter, along with fresh produce. Pretty much every other night we've had something with eith zucchini or pasta in it, but we've had enough variety to keep things interesting. Or so my husband says:) Its nice neither of us or our toddler are picky too.
#5: not so unexpected but great anyway-it was beyond fabulous to be done with dinner prep by mid-morning! So many other things creep up on me in the last few hours before Daniel gets home that I loved having the dinner prep done.

Its gone well enough that even though my stove was hooked up last night that I think I will continue to do at least half my cooking in the crockpot for the time being. Maybe more-we'll see.

Here are some of the menu plans from my crockpot experiments this past month-here, and here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Loves me some bargains: 9/5/09

Albertson's and more Albertson's (or Albies as those of us who are bff w/Albies call it) was the place to be this past week.

Between double coupons and lots of manufacture coupons, I paid $3 for everything pictured below and got $10 to spend next time. Sweet! i was especially excited about the veggie burger products-they taste a little "junk-foodish" but are relatively good for you and low cal which is great for my calorie counting self. The Post Great Grains are Daniel's new favorite snack food-he eats about a 1/2 box a day! I don't know where he puts it-wish i had that metabolism.;)

This trip was an oh-so-spendy $9.xx, but the fruit pictured is worth more than that. Everything else was free, including 10 boxes of cheesy crackers!
And no, we won't be eating a diet of fruit, crackers and cereal this week. I stock our pantry and freezer when the sales are awesome (we have a freezer full of cheese, lean ground turkey, berries and other random things right now for example) so I can make meals with a variety of food very inexpensively. Here is what we're eating this week.

Visit Money Saving Mom and Grocery Cart Challenge to see more!

Friday, September 4, 2009

O's birth story: Part 2

Part 1 is here.
Part 2, Day 2.

So day one was part empowering, part discouraging. What I thought was active labor and even possibly transition had only been early labor and only the tip of the iceberg. But, after a few hours of rest thanks to a morphine shot (in between contractions) and a new day’s beginning, I was ready to keep going (and a solid 4-5cm). Oh and the new crew decided that I could indeed eat-which was a huge blessing. Early that morning a hot breakfast arrived for me and I could have kissed the nurse and midwife who ordered it.

The next few hours I went in and out of the bathtub and our new doula (a back up for our first) arrived. She took a very hands-on approach, which I found out I needed/loved. She jumped right in and seemed to anticipate my needs-making suggestions for positions to labor in, pouring water on me in the tub, refilling juice/water, making encouraging comments constantly-it was wonderful. By mid-day I had progressed to 7-8 centimeters and the midwife was predicting pushing by 3pm! I was so excited and got another second wind. If I wasn’t in the tub (which helped with contractions tremendously) I was doing the “hip sway” holding onto the bed or onto Daniel. That was the only position that didn’t make me want to jump out the window during contractions.

A few hours later (I don’t have the notes for exact times in front of me right now) I was checked and had made no progress. We started having the discussion about the hospital’s policy regarding making a certain amount of progress each couple hours for VBAC’s or TOLACS as they called them (trial of labor after caesarean). The midwife said if I wasn’t progressing in some noticeable way in a couple hours, I would have to think about trying our “options”.

Of course I started to panic at this point-thinking only of being sectioned again. I tried to tell myself that it was okay if it happened, I was so tired afterall (I was 35+ hours into labor at this point). In the back of my mind I was having a mixture of even more determination to make it happen, mixed with pre-consolation for the almost-inevitable. I thought I must just not be able to give birth vaginally. Why, I had no idea-but in my mind there was no reason it should be taking this long (and obviously the hospital wasn’t doing much to help this conclusion). We went through another nurses’ shift change.

They also mentioned I should try less time in the tub because it might be slowing progress. My only form of rest/way to comfortably get off my feet was being discouraged. I was starting to lose hope.

Another check several hours later revealed no real progress. At that point I knew that I had to try something new for three reasons. One, for my own sanity-I was utterly exhausted at this point. Two, to “buy” more time. And three, because I felt like there was something holding back labor and I needed to know I was doing everything possible. Trying an epidural was a scary thought to me. In my mind it was a primary reason that labor slowed with M. Not only that but I felt like a bit of a natural birth failure. But something inside me told me it was the right thing to do at that point-and the nurse and doula (who are both natural birth advocates) thought it was worth a try. So we did. (Part three and the end to be continued)...

Friday To-Do List

This week has been a little crazy with finishing up our Wycliffe Equip online course (next week we go to Florida for 2 weeks to do the "onsite" portion!), spilling coffee on our keyboard, and the general chaos of life with 2 under two in an unfinished house!

In an effort to minimize side-tracked syndrome, I am going to post my to-do list for today:
#1: diapers in the wash (yes, I started counting calories and using cloth diapers again in the same week-not such a good idea;) (need to hang them up now)
#2: try to make zucchini bread in the crockpot (will be done cooking @ 2)
#3: hair color re-touch (done!)
#4: Sweep entire house (not such a big job when the house is so tiny:)
#5: start organizing and clipping this past weeks coupons (last in priority on list)
#6: take a walk with the girls!
#7: unpack another box

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sister, sister

I love that this pic was spontaneous---except for the ahhh! don't move-I need to get my camera!!

M loves to bring sissy toys now that she can hold them. Unfortunately M also likes to keep O's toys sometiimes, but well-its the start of the two "playing" together-yay!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

John Piper and Shane and Shane Video

">John Piper and Shane and Shane. Thanks Alyssa!

The coffee hit the keyboard and POOF!

My absence in cyberspace can be explained by someone spilling a very large iced coffee (homemade of course) onto my keyboard yesterday morning. My typing looked something like this: sldkjfaosiojdf hweorii doihek!

Not so awesome. After help from my techy dad and waiting for Daniel to arrive home from work, we got some Isopropyl alcohol from Walgreens and some QD Electronic Cleaner from Shucks and sprayed the keyboard. After many sad exclamations from Daniel outside, he thought he had REALLY broken it. Later we figured out it was a "hydrolic lock" or something of that nature (from Daniel) and after drying all night and reattaching a few keys we pryed off (not our best idea) it is working again! Whoo!

Here are my tips for the day:
#1: iced coffee and keyboards are not friends. Hot coffee and keyboards are probably not friends either for that matter.
#2: Isopropyl alcohol and electronic cleaner are friends with your keyboard, but may not seem like it at first. Don't start ripping keys off the keyboard until you make sure they've dried.
#3: computer keys are very difficult to reattatch. Don't unattach them unless you have to (see tip #2).

The end.