Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mommy's Little Helper

Lately, Alex has become an eager little beaver when it comes to helping around the house. He helps me sort the laundry and push the laundry basket to the door. He helps me make the bed. He throws things in the trash, helps me pick up his toys, and if I say, "Take this to Daddy," he will run and do it. Today, we were moving a big stack of books from the hallway into our bedroom. When Rusty told him he could help us, he got so excited. He made several trips back and forth, carrying books, and when the stack was gone, he said "More? More?"

Alex also likes to "help" in the kitchen. He is not quite old enough to start doing the dishes, but sometimes I will let him stand on a chair at the sink and play with plastic cups in the water. He also has his own cupboard that is full of nothing but Tupperware and plastic containers. His favorite thing to do is to climb inside it and throw everything out onto the floor. I'm not sure how he thinks this is helping me, but he is quite industrious about it, so obviously it is something that needs done in his mind.

Now, if only I knew how to make the "helpful" stage last forever.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'm Baaaaack!

Well, hello, everyone. I've been MIA for awhile, but I'm back now with an update on life through my eyes. Let's see, where to begin... oh, I guess I should start with the above picture. I have a big boy haircut now. I was getting a bit tired of everyone asking if I was a boy or a girl, so I had a talk with my mommy, and she agreed it was time for my first haircut (although she was sad to see all my beautiful blond curls go).

We went to a Cookie Cutters hair salon for kids. It was totally cool! They had all these cool toys and things to climb on. When it was time to get my hair cut, I sat in a car, and the lady put in a Baby Einstein video for me to watch and gave me a sucker. So far, so good. But then she started messing with my hair, and I wasn't sure I liked that too much. And then she got the clippers out, and I let her know in no uncertain terms, that I certainly didn't like those things!

Finally, it was over. She took my picture and put a lock of my hair in a little baggie for my mommy, and gave me an official "First Haircut" certificate. But I didn't care about all that -- I just wanted another sucker. Anyhow, I'm quite pleased with the results. It definitely keeps me cooler when I'm playing outside in the hot weather, and I don't get mistaken for a little girl so much. They say, "less is more," and in this case, I would have to agree. What do you think?

I have had a really fun summer. Our road trip was a blast. I got to see and do so many cool things, and I met all these people my parents say I'm related to. Now, we are living in Memphis. I really like it here. I have my own room, finally, with space for all my books and toys. I have a great big yard to run around in, and a ginormous sand-box (my mom says it is really a sand volleyball court). I also have a new friend. She lives across the courtyard from me. Her name is Mackenzie, and she just turned three. We like to play outside together and go swimming when it is hot. Sometimes, our parents trade baby-sitting, so they can go out on a date. Speaking of baby-sitting, I have a baby-sitter now that my mom has started working. She comes and plays with me two mornings a week. Her name is Miss Rachel, and we have fun together. On Wednesday, she takes me to the library for story time.

On Monday, my mom took me to the doctor for my 18-month check-up. I now weigh 26 pounds, 2 ounces, and I am 34 inches tall. That's almost 3 feet! The doctor says I am a healthy little boy. Then, I got four shots, and I did NOT like that at all! But my mom says those are the last shots I will need until I am 5, unless we go to Africa before then. I don't think I want to go to Africa, wherever that is!

That's it for now, I guess. Oh, my mom says to tell you that she updated my "Corner." Just scroll down and you'll see it in the sidebar on the right. Lots of love to everyone! -- Alex

Friday, September 14, 2007


Any missionary kid will attest that the question, "Where do you call home?" is a difficult one to answer. Part of my heart will always think of Kenya as home because that's where I grew up. Now that my parents live in Michigan, I feel like I'm going home when I go up there. Something about walking into their house and seeing all the familiar objects that I grew up seeing every day (like the Egyptian table, the framed family picture with all our names and their meanings in frames surrounding it, even everyday objects like the stainless steel salt and pepper shakers) is just so incredibly soothing. Bear in mind that I never actually lived in their house in Livonia; but it still feels a little bit like home.

This last year, though, when I thought of home, a jumbled hodge-podge of images flashed through my mind. Images of our old three-bedroom house in Mississippi, just across the street from the church where Rusty worked blended with those of our spacious six-bedroom home in Japan (and mixed in from time to time were images of our first apartment in Mito). It's odd, but I still remember practically every detail of those two homes, like how the furniture was arranged, where this or that picture or decoration was hung, even what drawer housed my silverware or my collection of wooden animal napkin rings.

Lately, my thoughts of home are beginning to organize themselves around our new abode at 1000 Cherry Road. We have been here little more than a month, but already, I feel more at home here than I have since we left Japan. No offense to Rusty's family, or to the Onsomu's (who were like our second home while we were in Portland), but there is just no real substitute, as far as I'm concerned, for a place of my own, for being surrounded by my own things. Sitting on my own couch, eating dinner (cooked in my own pans) off my own dishes at my own table -- just ordinary activities, yes, but that first week we were here, I was practically revelling in those things!

It's just student housing here on campus, just a 2-bedroom, 1-bath, cinder-block apartment, but it feels like a palace to me! For the first time in over a year, I can say the words, "It's good to be home."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Friday, September 07, 2007


Our family has been dealing with a lot of changes lately, so I decided our blog needed a face lift to reflect this. I've added and changed a bunch of stuff in the sidebar, chosen a new template, and figured out how to add a customized header. I browsed my favorite free stock photography website for a long time, trying to decide on the kind of photo I wanted. If we were still living in Japan, I would have chosen something with an Oriental flair; if in Portland, a picture of the Cascade mountains, a waterfall, or the rugged Oregon coast would have been cool. However, there just were not that many inspiring pictures of Memphis. So, I finally settled on the above picture of a winding country road. I feel like it is somehow reflective of our lives right now. We are still on a journey. (Memphis is not our final destination.) Our path doesn't stretch out straight in front of us, but twists out of sight through the trees. (We don't know yet where we will be going after this.) And I am learning, slowly, to be content with the journey I am on -- with the winding road, with the unknown, out of sight around the bend.

Anyway... back to the "changes" in our lives.

For one thing, we have a new address! Unpacking and settling into a new home is always a slow (and therefore frustrating) process for us, but we continue to make headway a little bit at a time. Along with the new address come a whole bunch of other new things -- new bank, new doctors, new pharmacist, new driver's licenses, new plates for the car, new insurance company, new phone number (still working on some of these!), and the list goes on...

Rusty is back in school, taking 6 hours (two classes) this semester. Having not taken a class in almost two years, it has taken him some time to "get his groove back." This was made more difficult by the fact that he has also been working long hours at Starbucks, trying to get in enough hours this quarter so we can maintain our benefits eligibility. Now that the quarter is almost over, he will be able to cut back on work so he can focus more on school.

I have faced some big changes as well. I am now a "working mom." (I say that somewhat facetiously, since of course all mothers work.) But, after 18 months of being a stay-at-home mom, I have re-entered the work force. This was not a decision that was made lightly, since both Rusty and I have always been committed to being a one-income family once children came along. However, the "perfect job" was offered to me, and I accepted. No, really: if I am going to work outside the home, this is the ideal situation. I am now working for Freed-Hardeman University as the Secretary in the Memphis Graduate Education Office. My office is right here on campus (where we live), alleviating the need for a second car, and making it possible for me to come home for lunch each day. My boss is extremely flexible and fun to work with; and the work itself is something I enjoy doing. Despite all of that, adjusting to working 32+ hours a week is going to take some time.

Needless to say, Alex has also faced his own set of changes as a result of my new job. He is spending two mornings a week with a baby-sitter, and a full day plus all other afternoons with his daddy. (Luckily, he still takes a pretty long nap in the afternoon, so Rusty can get some studying done!) Being the flexible, easy-going little guy that he is, he seems to be handling all this pretty well so far. In fact, it has probably been harder on Rusty and me than it has on Alex!

And that's what's new with us. Check back next week for some new pictures (I hope).