Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ezra Turns 1

Ezra playing with a birthday gift.
I can't believe this little guy is now 1.  I remember when he was born in the desert and the mental agony of  not knowing how his birth was going to go in a foreign hospital and absolutely hating being forced to go to a hospital at all instead of being with my midwife since homebirth was illegal. So, naturally, I decorated this desert baby's nursery in penguins. (How much farther from the desert can you get than Patagonia?) 

This baby is such a sweet heart! Ezra loves to be in the middle of his siblings every moment. He likes to meet new people and always makes eye contact to figure them out. He's notorious for making eyes and smiles at older ladies and toddling up and hugging you on the leg and laying his head against you before toddling off to play again. He gets a lot of loving and gives a lot back in return.

So far he can wave and say hi or bye-bye, Pawpaw, bubba, Ta-ta (for Talia) and love you (luh-ooo).

Many of his family members hadn't met him before coming to his first birthday party, and it was really special to get to spend time with them.

This was my first time using fondant to attempt a (blue) penguin cake.
Happy first birthday, Ezra! We love you!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kale Chips

This is my (wanna be) picky eater chomping on some kale chips:
One thing being back in the land of green things and an amazing variety of grocery options has provided is the chance to create some of the nice recipes we've been seeing but have been unable to reproduce. Like kale chips! With pink Himalayan sea salt! Whaaaaaaat???

You can tell how uncultured and unexposed to options I've been just by how excited I was to use pink Himalayan sea salt...
Anyway, my mom had kale growing in her handy greenhouse, and we had never tried it before, so we washed, dried and tossed it with olive oil and salt...
And baked it... It reminded me of the smell of broccoli while it was cooking and it definitely had that earthy flavor of greens, but it had CRUNCH, and who doesn't like broccoli-smelling-green-flavored CRUNCH? Actually, we didn't care for it, but the kids did! (Probably because they rarely get chips and these were crunchy and had "chips" in the name...) Yay for kids eating greens!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Abu Dhabi to Qatar to Dallas: (Too Much Flying)

Our trip began by driving to Abu Dhabi to finish some paperwork before flying out. We picked nap time, apparently, because not long on the road, all three kids were like this:
On flying day we got up at 2 AM, well, Ben, Talia the baby and I got up, but poor Elias was in a daze. We had a one hour flight to Qatar and then a 16 hour flight to Dallas.

People ask how I can fly with two kids and a baby, and, let me tell you now, I'm no super mom. We took it one moment at a time. Talia was an amazing helper and the friendly airline staff were all incredible. Especially when tired Elias got scared of the escalator as I was going down with the baby and a bag and Talia with bags and he stood on the top and wailed. An airport guy picked him up and brought him down. I was thankful for so many blessings on flight day: The boys had gotten over the fevers that had popped up just two days before traveling, a friend had helped us figure out the luggage transportation issue (three kids, small car, 12 pieces of different kinds of luggage...), many of the people I wanted to say bye to were able to arrange a meeting, the flight went through Qatar (known for spacious and nice flying accommodations), everything was checked including the stroller smoothly and with not much of a wait, the kids behaved very well on the plane and even slept much of the time, we were surrounded with nice people who had children or didn't mind them... so many, many things went beautifully.

 Still, a 16 hour flight is no picnic. I always break it up mentally into 6 hour increments... I'm not sure that it helps, because it usually goes like this:

First 6 hours: WE DID IT! We got through 6 hours without kids melting down or the plane crashing, or a million other scenarios that lurk in the back of my mind when flying.... but then I realize that we have TEN MORE HOURS TO GO!

Second 6 hours: The baby slept for THREE CONSECUTIVE HOURS! On a normal flight that would be almost the whole flight, or at least half! I can't believe we have 4 more hours: My shoulders hurt from holding little people, my backside feels glued to the aircraft seat and my eyes hurt from the screens everywhere and crazy hours and, "did we really get up at 2AM? Why is it impossible to sleep?"

Third 6 hours: So, it's not really 6 hours, right, I just do that to make me feel better when I remember that it's less than the first. Unless you count the time in the airport and the hour driving home? "ARE WE EVER GOING TO GET OUT OF HERE... I'm starting to feel like I'm suffocating."

Regardless, we made it alive. We are now enjoying the (sneeze) flowers and green things everywhere. Everything is greeeeen! We played in the rain! We harvested things from a garden! We went to an easily accessible church! We have family close! And, maybe best of all...


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Desert Storms

We had the two days of sprinkles and rain a week or so ago that are allotted as normal for a desert year... Which was wonderful and refreshing, but does mean that for two days we couldn't hang clothes outside. Elias likes to help put the clothes in our combined washer/dryer machine and, this time, put his dirty shoes in it as well. It made sense to him: they were dirty, they should be washed... Normally that wouldn't be an issue since we never use the dryer when it is not raining, but this day it was. We ended up with this:

Shoes with the decoration peeled off, shrunk to half their normal size and curled up. I was surprised (to find them in there, first) to see how different they were when they came out! 

Today there is a different kind of storm. We woke up to yellow light coming in the windows and when we went to see what it was, there was a hazy fog of sand sitting in the air everywhere. Ben couldn't drive to work it is so thick. We had to wipe sand off of the table before we could eat breakfast!

The kids and I are glad Ben is home, whatever the reason! They were playing "sandstorm travelers" and created this mask to "help them breathe in storms":

It's nice to have unexpected time together, even if it's sand storming.