Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lily's 4th Birthday

In keeping with our birthday traditions.....here is my letter to Lily on her 4th birthday...for her to read one day when she is older....and it's a good review of her 3rd year for memory's sake.

Why am I always taken by surprise when your birthday comes around every year? When I look at you, I can't believe how grown up you are these days. You have seen a lot of change in this last year of your life, way more than the average 3 year old, and I sometimes wonder if that will have lasting consequences.....you've had your ups and downs Lily but since arriving in Uganda, you have been your happy, fun self which has been a relief to this mama's heart.  It is such a joy to see you grow into a loving, creative, independent, joyful little girl.....of course that is not to say we don't have our moments Lily....you are so fiercely independent but sometimes, you just need help Lil.....we just need to work on the asking part! :) You are getting better at 'using your words' to resolve a conflict and putting others first (that's a hard one for even mommy!). I am excited to see how the next year will grow and shape who you are.....some things that make me smile when I remember your 3rd year are:

- Your obsession with 'baby kitty' aka a pink (now brown) lemur
- The inchworm before bed
- Seeing you sitting on the floor with a pile of books around you, 'reading' to yourself
- Hearing you belt out "go tell it on the mountain" or do the actions to "Jesus loves
 me" or "deep and wide"--you love to sing and even make up songs about random
-Your pudgy little hands completing the proper 'how to wash your hands' routine
-Your beautiful blue eyes and perfect smile that light up when you laugh (your 'pee the pants' laughter is hilarious...makes all of us laugh)
- You still love mashed potatoes (you always ask Phil to make them into a 'volcano'
 with butter and ketchup (aka lava)
- You love to help with laundry, make your bed (all by yourself) and bake with me (with lots of 'taste-testing')
- Your drawings have changed over the year.....instead of the arms coming right out of the head, you now draw a proper person, complete with cheeks (circles drawn on the cheeks) and a forehead (a line drawn above the eyes) and love to make patterns on their dresses (polka dots or rainbow stripes)
- You're still obsessed with swinging.....but you are almost ready to pump yourself....I might be out of a job soon!  We also have the best chats while you are swinging....you just talk and talk and talk....I say the occasional 'ya' and 'uh-huh' but mostly I just listen to you share your heart with me
- Swimming is a highlight for you.....you like to wear goggles when you do your 'dolphin dives' in the baby pool and have graduated to doing dives (aka belly flops) in the big pool with your water wings on....and you have been practising hard on your floats and front crawl arms.....you'll be swimming with Kaitlyn in no time!
- Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night and want to sleep with Phil and I....I'm going to cherish that while it lasts
- You LOVE Kaitlyn, she is your bestest friend and from the moment you wake up to the moment you close your little eyes, you two are playing together, imagining, creating, pretending, giggling, sometimes fighting and frustrating each other but usually loving each other's company.....we are so thankful for 2 little girls who get along so well
-You still don't really care about what you wear (unlike Kaitlyn who has at least 3 outfits changes before lunch) although sometimes you exercise your will and choose a certain outfit or dress
- You are into baseball these days and have your 'stance' downpat....you never seem to give up even when you have 'swung and missed' like 20 times in a row....bad pitching from mom right? :) When you do hit the ball...your face lights up and you are that much more determined to do better the next time.....your 'never giving up' attitude is going to come in handy a lot in the future
-You are so good about being quiet when you wake up before anyone else.....reading books or playing quietly until Kaitlyn wakes up or until your tummy tells you it's time for breakfast
-You are officially OUT OF DIAPERS!!! and have done so well at night when we have to wake you up to go pee.....before you used to really dislike being moved in the night....but now....you seem to understand it has a purpose
- You have started seeing other kids as potential friends.....the other day on the swing you met a little girl and actually uttered the words "maybe we could be friends"! It was music to this social mama's heart!
-You love your daddy and always run out to wave him off when he leaves for work and when you hear the beep at the gate, you and Kaitlyn run out to wave him in
- You love taking baths, practicing your floats and bubbles, and playing with the little people
- Your sweet prayers at the end of the day.....praying about the things most important to you....family, those in need, our hearts to be changed and.....your blankie :)

Lily, I love who you are, and who you are becoming and I pray that you will continue to trust in our never-changing, always present God who will be with you no matter where you are.  When things are crazy around you, when you have to make new friends (again), when you are learning to speak a new language, when you are living in a new country/house/place for the 4th time in a year,....just know that you can place your confidence in the One who designed you, the One who created you for a very special purpose Lily......I feel so blessed to be able to walk this life with you.

I will love you for always, my special little Lily.

The Birthday Girl

Ariel Treasure Hunt

Lily means 'pure'

Another Phil Henderson Masterpiece :)

LOVED her cake!


Thank you pinterest!

Bubblegum from the ice cream

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bangers and Mash

With all the transition in January and early February....I didn't ever get around to writing about our time in England....
After packing and shipping CRAZINESS and lots of good-byes, we found ourselves at Pearson airport checking in our 8 duffel bags and giving last minute hugs to our families. We were actually leaving Canada. It was very surreal....but even though we were saying good bye to our families knowing we wouldn't see them for at least 2.5 years, excitement dominated our emotions and fortunately for me, that means I wasn't crying like a baby while going through customs. The overnight flight to England went better then I expected with the kids, I parked myself in the middle seat and after a late night meal, several storybooks and some tickling, the girls were fast asleep on either side of me, heads on my lap. We were scheduled to land in England at 7am England time (2 am Ontario time) and needless to say, I watched the whole plane have some shut-eye. Fun times. It was just me and the parents with the crying baby that stayed awake with the flight crew. Oh well, I knew that I would be able to sleep once we arrived at Ashbourne Place.
We managed to find all our bags and did some serious people watching while we waited for our ride to where the MAF training course was. The next two hours were a blur as I was desperate to close my eyes and sleep, when we arrived, I beelined for the couch and conked out. Phil woke me up half an hour later to bring me to our room and then I slept for the next 5 hours til dinnertime. We had a nice dinner (everything tastes so good when I am not the one making it!) and got a chance to explore the 'castle' a little bit. This English estate was from the 1700's and was as English as you can get with winter gardens, fire places in every room, floor to ceiling windows with wooden shutters, 20 foot ceilings that boasted elaborate designs, stone statues, greenhouse, and an old (not used anymore) dairy and butchery among many other breathtaking details. What a priviledge to have stayed there for 2 weeks.....Phil's mom (who came along to watch the girls while we were in training) was in 'British heaven' with all the history, architechture and ambiance of old England. She was just as glad to be there as we were of her!! The kids had a blast with 'Gramma' for those 2 weeks. While we learned about cultural differences, secuity measures, and lots more to prepare us for entering a new culture, the kids painted, hiked, played, went on treasure hunts, read books and had lots of quality time with grandma.  The two weeks in England flew by with just one short day when we were able to take several modes of public transportation (double-decker bus, trains, taxi) and saw Buckingham Palace, Hamley's Toy Store and various sights around London. The next day we were scheduled to fly to Uganda, say good-bye to Mom and leave for real. Again, we were excited and looking forward to just 'getting there'. The flight with British Airways was nice, and we made sure to enjoy the movies, food, drinks and the perfect air temperature....we flew in around 10:30pm Uganda time and were met by a fellow MAF pilot who ushered us past the looooooong customs line (2 planes worth of people) right up to the front (wearing a uniform gets you far here!) and within 10 minutes we were through customs, and loading our bags into the car. By midnight we were in our new home, and were welcomed by our cupboards stocked with necessities, beds made (complete with bug nets) and even a nice bouquet of flowers and some welcome cards. After a long day of travel, we really appreciated coming 'home' to those things. We crashed in our beds and I slept my first sleep under the African moon.
Here are some pics from our time in England....sorry, they are out of order....not a techy like Phil. :)

Our set-up for MAF training in England

The MAF crew

What else do you do when cardboard boxes are in abundance?
Make a bus of course!

Our farewell 

Paddington Bear made this one famous!

Almost asleep....

This is the closest we got to the Royals.

Very cool tree.

This is just very English....don't you think?

Ashbourne Place - where we had our MAF training.
(aka "The Castle")

Phil's picture taking talents....

The church we attended while at Ashbourne Place

Love this.

A little pub we had lunch at when in the town of Battle.

I just had to get a pic of one of these!

Buckingham Palace!

We're in an 'old school' London Taxi!!

I'm still traumatized about this....
Getting the 'sillies' out before the long flight