Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Week in Status Updates

Annie is:  amazed that all we really need to survive anymore can be packed into 4 suitcases.

Annie is:  watching a Finnish TV station with Colby who is trying to imitate the new sounds (His response when he saw me watching him:  "Oh sorry...I was just thinking about Diphthongs.")  

Annie is:  APPALLED to hear that you have to PAY to use public bathrooms here.

Annie is:  attempting to blow-dry and curl her hair in the kitchen using the reflection in the microwave as a mirror because the only outlet in the bathroom is being used by the washing machine.

Annie is:  trying to remember what it was like to have a DRYER.  

Annie is:  consoling Darcy who has slipped on the wet bathroom floor on her way to the toilet because the Finnish people have not yet discovered the wonders of a shower door.  

Annie is:  using an old cottage cheese container for a cereal bowl this morning because the "furnished apartment" does not furnish an adequate amount of dishes.  

Annie is: successful in finding the silverware drawer only after opening 11 other drawers first.

Annie is:  (don't misunderstand), very thankful for this new apartment, but has honestly never felt more uncomfortable furniture in her entire life.  

Annie is: explaining to Haley that we are not in China even though our apartment looks like it.

Annie is: running next to Colby who has taken his shirt off it is so warm...and passing people with winter coats, hats, and snow pants.  Can someone please explain this phenomenon to me?  

Annie is:  missing Wal-Mart and the dollar racks.  

Annie is:  thankful that Haley and Darcy have such wild imaginations and are able to have fun here without many toys.  

Annie is: learning the joy of simplicity and the freedom of living moment by moment.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Living on Poo-Poo

When our Finnish friend first told us, I didn't believe him.  

"We live where?"  

"Poo-poo-hoo-dante," he said again.

The girls went nuts.  

(Darcy, of course) "So, who lives on Pee-pee?"  (roaring laughter from her and Haley).

I guess there are worse things to have as your street name.  Honestly, I could care less what this thing is named...I can walk out our door and take my next step into the woods.  And then my next step is on a trail that wraps around a beautiful lake.  The leaves are changing colors already, but the air is still warmer than Iceland.  We are taking advantage of this weather and location by training for a half-marathon that is in September (although I will probably opt for the 12K). Come take a look at our new apartment.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Treasure Principle

Randy Alcorn's book The Treasure Principle is a gold nugget. It is a concise, readable, inspiring, and challenging message about the source and practice of generosity. It is full of challenging anecdotes and colorful points to ponder for anyone who wants to experience the joy of breaking free from the bondage of materialism.

Well for our faithful blog readers (actually only for those with a U.S. address) ... We have a deal for you! The first 30 people to send an e-mail with there address to will receive a free copy of the book. Be sure to include your name and put Free Book in the subject line. 

We Have Renters!

We're so thankful that God provided for our needs by sending Kara and Josh our way.  Kara is from Colby's home church in Galeton, Pennsylvania and she got a job teaching at a local elementary school in Stafford County.  Josh and Kara will be married in a few weeks, but Kara has already moved in.  If anyone wants to stop by Sunny Hill and welcome Kara to the neighborhood, feel free!     

Sunday, August 23, 2009

So…we are in Finland.

We don’t know how long we’ll be here…we don’t know much except that we are together and in God’s hands.  If you are not on our prayer team and would like to get monthly updates or weekly updates, just let us know. 

We flew into Helsinki and then drove 3 ½ hours north to a college town called Jyvaskyla.  This place is strikingly similar to where I grew up:  marshes, lakes, and HUNDREDS of trails for walking and biking.  We spent 6 hours running and walking around in the warm weather (warmer than any day we’ve had in Iceland) exploring the trails and the city.   I love seeing so many people outside exercising here.  We’ve noticed lots of people into Nordic walking here (walking with ski poles).   

The girls have done well adjusting.  For the first time in a year, the girls have separate rooms to sleep in.  Bedtime has been 75% less stressful and that is so helpful.  Of course, Darcy is going through her typical culture shock.  In the middle of the night she woke up screaming, “My leg is BWOKEN!”  and when she wakes up she is convinced she has a fever and ice cream is the only thing that can cure it.  I’m just waiting until starts telling me she has to throw up again. 

Of course, there is the drama of not having a car and always  trying to catch a bus.  Today the bus drove right past me even though I was standing right at the bus stop (apparently you have to flag them down).  A half-hour later when it returned, the girls frantically started running toward it, Haley knocked Darcy over, and we made a scene getting on the quiet bus …(Darcy, in between sobs) “NOW… I… AM …LAME!!”  (Thank you Jesus Storybook Bible for expanding my child’s vocabulary).  “Mommy…(trying to catch her breathe)….You have to get me sticks so I can walk.”  Nordic walking, anyone?


Monday, August 17, 2009

The Obsession continues...

Our teacher tipped us off where we could take the girls on a horse ride.  Darcy is now as fascinated as her sister is with horses.
See more here 

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Scarred For Life?

A few weeks ago, not long after the miscarriage, we were having a family picnic and enjoying a day of relaxation. As we were sitting around a picnic table Haley spotted this apple and said, "Mommy, the Apple reminds me of you..." I thought I knew what she was referring to, but I wasn't convinced that my four year old had the capacity for such abstract thinking. I looked at Haley, "Well, what do you mean?" She gave her classic smile of embarrasment and replied, "Oh, nothing." Intrigued, Annie and I gently pressed her to share what she was thinking about and she eventually obliged our request. Pensively she stated, "The Apple represents Mom and the scar know...the miscarriage." Annie and I shared a look of amazement and shook our heads in disbelief at Haley's capacity to see a picture of life in an otherwise ordinary object.
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Monday, August 10, 2009


Well, I think I'll put a pause on the series for now.  I'll have to wait for another season of life where I am forced to be sedentary to blog the second half of my "cute sayings" book. Here is one last personal favorite from the archives.  I am teaching an English class again and it is pretty exhausting.  So exhausting, in fact, that Colby has had to come to school with me every day to help out.  It is fun to have the whole family there and Darcy is THRILLED to be in attendance.  Since she has learned all her letters, she actually is a help during "letter time."  Whenever we ask for a word that starts with that letter, she comes up with the craziest examples.  CLASS CLOWN already!    

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Out of the Mouths of Babes"--A continuing series

October 2007
age: 3

Haley is now in Cubbies in the AWANAs club at church.  Her first lesson was all about creation.  I thought it was an amazing lesson because they made the distinction between creating (something only God can do) and making (something we can do out the materials God has created).  After the lesson, Mrs. Driggers visited Haley in Cubbies and asked her, "Haley, do you want to come to my house this week and make cookies?"  Her response was firm.  "Yes, but we can't CREATE them."  Mrs. Driggers was confused until we explained the lesson to her.  

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Out of the Mouths of Babes"--A continuing series

June 2008
Haley-age 3 1/2

Haley got a new Ariel t-shirt recently and asks to wear it almost every day.  Even though he lets her watch The Little Mermaid, Colby isn't the biggest fan of this Disney princess because she's got an attitude with her Daddy in the movie.  So, today in Wal-Mart, an elderly man saw Haley (with the shirt on of course), stopped, bent over so he was eye-level with her, smiled, pointed at her shirt, and asked kindly if she liked Ariel.  She shrugged and responded, "Yeah... but sometimes she's a bad example to me."  His smile dropped as he look puzzled, didn't know what to say, finally stood up and just patted her on her head.  I felt bad for him.  

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"Out of the Mouths of Babes"--A continuing series

December 2007
Darcy: age 1.5 
Haley: age 3 

Darcy: (babbling away at the breakfast table), "Di, Di, Di, DI."

Haley:  (casually, as she is eating her cheerios):  "Mommy, Darcy says she wants you to die."

Me:  "I don't think that's quite what she means, honey." 

Haley trounces in the bathroom where I am getting ready, carrying purses that are stuffed full of toys and wearing a big back pack.  
Haley:  "Bye, Mom!  I'm going to heaven now.  See you later!"
Darcy: "BYE!" (follows her sister, waddling her pampered butt behind with her two purses).   

December 2007
Haley:  age 3

Haley and Darcy came back from Pennsylvania today where Grammy and Papa watched them for a week.  Haley returned with a big scratch near her eye that was apparently the result of a collision with a table.  Tonight at church, Miss Gayle asked what happened to her eye and Haley nonchalantly replied, "Oh, I don't know....I think someone beat me up."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Out of the Mouths of Babes"-- a continuing series

This is the first one from my book:

July 2006
Haley: 20 months old

We went to Lake Lunga to watch fireworks with the Fauths this Fourth of July.  It was Haley's first (fully cognitive) Fourth of July and it was like nothing she had ever experienced before.  The loud booms, the festive cackling of the fireworks.  She was wide-eyed, just taking it in the whole night.  

The next day, she must have still been processing the events of the evening.  After letting out a disturbingly loud amount of  flatulence, her eyes got big, and with the excitement of one who had just solved a mystery, she exclaimed, "FIREWORKS!!" 


October 2006
Haley: 23 months

Oh cute!  It is 9:57 pm and the girls were tucked in an hour ago.  My phone (with its new, fancy ringtone) just rang, and the next thing we see is Haley Jane bolting down the stairs in great distress....
"Where the Ice-Cream truck go?" 

December 2006
Haley Jane: 2

Yesterday we read the Christmas story and set up our nativity with Haley.  She listened intently to the part about the angel that had come to Mary and Joseph saying, "DO NOT BE AFRAID!"

Today, after breakfast, Colby watched as Haley marched right up to the porcelain angel, stared at it right in the eyes, and with hands on her hips and pampered butt sticking out, she confidently remarked, "I NOT SCARED." 

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Out of the Mouths of Babes"--A continuing series

December 2007
Haley:  age 3

We had a youth worker's meeting after church today.  Haley loves it because she gets to spend quality time with the Fauth kids, have "kitty club", and watch a movie in the church nursery while we have our meeting.  When I went to get her after the meeting was over, she shooed me away frantically, "Noooo....Mommy, can you just go praise the Lord some more?  I want you to praise the Lord a loooooooong time so I can watch The Little Mermaid."

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Out of the Mouths of Babes"--A continuing series

August 2007
Haley: age 2.5

Haley was just laying on the floor relaxing, when she randomly looked up at me and said, "Where did we get you?"  
I laughed and said, "I don't know how to answer that question...where do you think?"
"I know!"  She finally remembered, "We got you from Wisconsin!"
October 2007
Haley: age 3

"Hey mommy, if I pull Great-Grammy's hair, then will she hear me?"
July 2008
Haley:  age 3.5
"Daddy, are there flying horses in this world?"

"No, honey...not in this world.   Only in our imagination."

"Ohhhhh....... how do we get to 'our imagination' ?"

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"Out of the Mouths of Babes"--A continuing series

March 2007
Haley: age 2

"Mommy, I want some Peanuts."

"Haley Jane, what you need right now is PATIENCE."

"No, I NO LIKE Patience.  I want peanuts."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

She's Back!

...And may be better than ever. Over the past day or so Annie has come alive again. Last night we went for a run and she did great. Today we went to an outdoor museum, something like an Icelandic version of Colonial Williamsburg but on a smaller scale. Annie decided to give the stilts a try and flashed a classic face which I managed to catch in a photo.

"Out of the Mouths of Babes"--A continuing series

February 2007
Haley: age 2
Location:  Reykjavik, Iceland

"Good morning, mommy! Good morning, church bells!  I so pretty.  I so beautiful."

(Time to teach Haley this verse:  Proverbs 27:2 "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.")

The next morning:

"I not pretty.  I not beautiful.  Another man's lips are pretty;  NOT my own."

Hmmm....maybe I need to try that lesson again.