a street in zuumod, mongolia, where we held street dances for the townspeople.
photo courtesy of http://www.mongolei.de/bilder/bo/MarktstandZuunmod.JPG
in 2000, less than one year of marriage, chris and i headed to mongolia with our church for a 14 day mission trip.
our team taught english at an english summer camp being held at an english college in this little town called zuumod about an hour outside of ulaanbaater (ub) the capital city.
that first year was SOOOOOO awesome!
we met 20 awesome teenagers.
we fell in love with this teenagers.
3 in particular were our "favorites" for lack of a better word: tumee, tuugi, jacky.
in 2001, we went back and even though we didn't teach the teenagers this time, we connected with them each night dancing in the street or playing games or hiking or whatever. and i met the coolest mongolian girl ever. i still LOVE her and miss her.
in 2002, i went to mongolia without chris to a completely different town and didn't get to see our guys (i ran into tengiss, but barely)
all this to say one thing.
today, tumee found me on facebook!
tumee found me!
i don't think i've ever been more surprised or excited about my past!
you may not think this is amazing, but he lives in MONGOLIA! i live in MINNESOTA!
this is seriously amazing.
it's been almost 10 years since we have seen him.
thank you, facebook. i may actually use you more often now!
i know i keep showing you all these pictures of our family, but i can't help it.
this little guy is fighting again.
call her what you may (but it better be nice), she is the picture of a 2 year old.
i have never known a 2 year old to be so....well, 2.
she is the cuddliest kid. she snuggles and lays with you for "hours" and wants you to hold her all the time.
okay, so probably not you. if she doesn't know you and maya hasn't cleared you, she won't come near you unless i pry her little fingers from my shoulder and hand her on over. if she has to, she will, but she won't go willingly.
when i pick her up from sunday school and she comes with me to pick up maya, she RUNS to maya's class and before she is at the door yells, "MAYA!" as loudly as she can. all you can see over the top of the 1/2 door is her eyes and the top of her nose.
she is so short.
maya is a good 8 inches taller than her and they aren't even 2 years apart. dane is closer to her height than maya.
she loves to read and when she's tired, she will go to bed so willingly.
she knows her letters and loves to learn.
she loves to color and play with stickers and get into all my scrapbooking stuff and pretty much destroy any order i have assembled there (or in life in general)
then, the swtich will flip.
if i speak to her with even a hint of disapproval in my voice, wailing and screaming and temper tantrums ensue.
and it doesn't really stop until you ignore it.
this is pleasant.
she is potty training and unless she thinks of it herself (which isn't very frequently yet), you can expect a struggle to happen on the potty. or to the potty. or about the potty.
we try not to make a big deal about having accidents, but she doesn't like them very much.
so i have started using the love and logic techniques on her potty training.
going potty is not an option, but how she goes is.
"brin, do you want to go potty by yourself or do you want me to help?'
"i don't want to go potty."
"i asked you if you want to go by yourself or if you want me to help."
"i'll do it mySELF." (i am so grateful for learning this technique)
is that not a 2 year old?
i thank God every day that she is in our family. she brings so much life to our home.
she brings so much joy and excitement. and she brings so many stretching moments as well.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
i want to learn soon. i tried to learn by reading it on the internet, but i am such an auditory and tactile learner that reading it doesn't help me at all except that i know WHERE to go to change it. from there, i get lost in all the html mumbo jumbo!
chris was at work and i was at home with the 3 kids.
i called him and said, "i'm not saying you have to come home, but i just want you to know i feel awful." earlier in the week, i had asked him to come home early because we had a sick kid in the house. i knew his work would look down on that if it happened again.
the room was spinning so much that i was nauseaus. my mom and dad couldn't come down to help me. i couldn't get a hold of my aunt lis or our old nanny, elizabeth. i didn't want to call my friend, dacia because she has a 2 month old, and i didn't want to burden her or megan whose life is absolutely nuts right now.
3 hours later i was getting desperate because i felt so awful. i knew it was going to be a long day because when dane knocked over a pile of clean laundry, i just looked at it on the floor. i couldn't get off the couch to pick it up. i had put in 2 movies before the hour of 8 o'clock and the second one was on continuous play.
so i did the only thing i could think of.
i called andrea.
andrea who watches our kids 2 to 3 days a week already.
this was the conversation:
gianna: hi, todd. is andrea there?
todd: she hasn't quite gotten up yet.
gianna: oh, okay. when she gets up, can you have her call me? but it's no rush.
gianna: thanks, bye.
10 minutes passed. the phone rang. it was andrea.
gianna: you didn't have to get up just to call me.
andrea: i had to get up anyway.
gianna: so this is what's going on. my head is spinning like crazy. i feel sick to my stomach. i tried to throw up but it didn't really work and i don't feel any better. and the girls are watching their second movie and that started before 8:00. i feel horrible. and well, i was thinking that you could listen to me complain or if you wanted to, you could come over and help? but you don't have to. i know this your day to do what you want to do.
andrea: i can come over for a while.
gianna: that would be so nice. but you don't have to, you could just listen to me complain.
andrea: but you're sick.
gianna: are you sure?
andrea: i'll be over after i get dressed and eat some breakfast.
gianna: oh, thank you.
we hung up and i started to bawl. then, dane banged his head on my lip and gave me a fat lip and i cried some more.
40 minutes later (at approximately 10:00), andrea came in and i greeted her with dane in his pajamas and said, "he's the only one whose eaten breakfast. the girls are downstairs watching a movie and aren't dressed either." (little did i know they were downstairs trashing the basement! andrea was greeted with that picture and cleaned it up before i saw it)
andrea taking dane: you go get some rest
gianna: thank you so much!
and off to bed i headed. after i got some much needed sleep, i felt a little better. andrea had EVERYTHING under control. and she didn't leave right away. after being there over 2 hours, she made sure i was feeling okay enough for her to leave.
at 12:30 she left but not before she asked: are you sure you're okay?
thank you, andrea, for you gift of time and energy for my kids.
you are a gift from the lord.
and thank you, jesus, for andrea and for her self sacrificing love.
our administrator asked me how much i had lost since i had started working on it. and i realized that since from before dane was born, i have lost over 60 pounds. i cannot believe it.
dr. kurachek had me blushing like crazy because he wouldn't stop talking about it.
he asked me how i had lost the weight and then said, "whenever i picture you, i think of you... as well....pregnant."
i cracked up on the phone and said, "i can't blame you?"
for 3 years in a row in the past 4 years, this is what dr. kurachek (and the rest of the world) has seen....
pregnant with maya
this past may and june, our neighbor's daughter has been up from florida. she has a little girl who is one day shy of being a month younger than brin. we have met her before, but this year, brin and little s were pretty inseperable. little s was probably one of brin's first REAL friends (besides m who is andrea's little girl!)
also ten minutes ago (maybe more like 20 minutes), my littlest boy was screaming at the top of his lungs when he should have been fast asleep. he once again is, but there was some tension there for a bit.
anyway, now i have 4 minutes and counting before i need to wake up my girls so that they we can play in the sprinkler and i promised a short movie, too.
anyway, i am waiting for the pics to download. come on! come on! come on!
2 minutes. let's go computer!
it was literally poopy.
well, maybe more correctly i should have entitled this post: our bodily fluid vacation.
i haven't downloaded our pics yet to upload them to my post, but i will update the pics later.
this is what made our vacation very bodily fluidy.
sunday: brin woke up throwing up.
it was weird, too. there wasn't anything in her tummy really to throw up so it was kind of frothy foam. but she was seriously throwing up. the sound was throwing up, the feel of her tummy's acitivity was throwing up, the look on her face when she was done was definitely throwing up, the fact that she was white as a sheet was definitely throwing up. poor thing
i called chris to come home early from work because i didn't know how to take care of all 3 kids with one throwing up and the littlest one still needing to nurse and just needing basic 13 month old attention.
when he came home, he helped for a while and then brin fell asleep. so chris took a nap, too. i took dane and maya for a walk to see let everyone else sleep.
brin woke up still pale and threw up one more time, but then started to eat like crazy and kept it all done, so we piled into the van and took off for portage, wi!
monday: the kids and i went down for naps after a morning at mackenzie enviromental center. brin had to poop. once again, she decided that she should try to figure out how to do it herself. i was brought a little girl who didn't have a diaper. poor grandma! i cleaned up brin and the floor, but she cleaned up the toilet and the bathroom. it was pretty much everywhere. grandma isn't used to brin's claim to independence. but she was a great sport and just helped. thanks!
tuesday: i HAD to take a nap in the morning this day because dane had gotten up in the middle of the night and had been awake for 2 hours! AAAAHHHH!!!! what are you doing, boy? so during naptime this day, grandma took the kids so the rest of us could go to devil's lake state park. beautiful state park. while we hiked one of the beautiful bluffs, she was cleaning up not 1 but 2 horrible poopy dame diapers (who by the way didn't nap). one of his poopy diapers was completely PURPLE because he has discovered the JOY of blueberries!
tuesday night: we put the kids to bed, but instead of going to bed, brin decided to be completely independent again with her poopy diaper. THIS time, grandpa found her. he came down to the rest of us in the living room to tell us that a little creature was running around getting turds everywhere. this time, chris and i tagged teamed it. while chris tried to clean up the carpet and bed and room, i put brin on the toilet on the side that wasn't smeared with poop. she completely FELL IN! so far that she got her pajama top soaked. he he he! oops! i cleaned her up, got her a new shirt, cleaned up the toilet, put her back to bed, and hoped for the best. luckily she went to sleep soon after it was all cleaned up!
it was 4 days.
i wasn't really impressed with the teacher.
she didn't seem to know the 7 little girls's names unless she was reading them from the attendance sheet.
but the girls were adorable.
we enjoyed watching maya dance her way through 45 minutes.
stretching and warming up
crystal from my life at the circus hosts and encourages us to go beyond our mommy blog.
i have been thinking about how often i ask for help.
do i ask too much?
do people get tired of me constantly saying, "we could use some help."
i don't usually feel too humiliated when i ask for help like that, but then i got to thinking, "am i asking too much?"
no one likes a mooch at all. am i so incompetent that i can't do things for myself?
i know in the bible it tells us to carry each other's burdens, but it doesn't say, "go ask someone else to help you carry your burden."
while i do think i may ask for help too much, i also think we, as a society and even believers in the lord Jesus Christ, do NOT go out our way to see a need. we are so fast paced that we can't look at someone struggling and have it register that they are in need and maybe there is something i can do.
i am not saying this lightly. i am as much to blame in this category as the next person. many times i think, "oh. well, that's really too bad." and i mean it sincerely, but i don't go the next step and personalize myself and think about what i could do to help. take a moment and give someone directions, offer to give the guy a few extra pennies to cover the tax on his drink, help my neighbor move his refridgerator (okay maybe not that one!) , etc.
i am reading the mark of the lion series by francine rivers. hadasseh is the main character and she is a true servant of God. it is set during the roman empire sometime after nero was in power and when titus destroyed the temple in jerusalem.
one of the things, hadasseh does in the 2nd book is work with a physician. they go to a place where romans dump their slaves when they are too sick to work and are going to die. hadasseh and alexander the doctor have to choose one person to try to help. but there are so many, hadasseh doesn't have the heart to ignore the hurting/dying.
so she covers and old man with her shawl and takes a few minutes to talk about Jesus.
i could do that! the best way i can help anyone is by telling people about Jesus! nice thought, gianna, let's see you put that in to practice. i'm going to try to talk about Jesus to one person this week.
join me as we participate with susanne from living to tell the story for this week's friday's fave five.
1. dane took his first step yesterday! i went to pick the kids up from andrea's and when i bent down to say hi, he took his first excited step toward me (and 2nd!). a couple of hours later, he took his next 2 steps for daddy to see! so exciting.
2. raising kids with love and logic: this is a great book! i need to be learning new tools to raise my kids with chris. it talks about how we as parents should allow our kids to fail while it's safe in ou home (both in a loving environment and a SAFE environment: obviously we won't let our kids burn themselves or get run over by a car!). it is a great resource! and it also talks about raising a child with confidence and healthy self image.
3. getting ready for vacation. i'm getting more and more excited for our mini vacation we are taking with chris's family on sunday. we are going to portage wi and i think this year is going to be so fun! swimming in the pool, playing wii, visiting circus world, devil's lake state park, mackenzie environmental center. it's going to be different than three bears, but i think it's going to be so fun!
4. http://www.pocketyourdollars.com/: finding a new website that does all the money saving for calcuations for me. locally! this is exactly what i need! thank you!
5. running goal: met! i had 5 days off in a row and my goal was to run all 5 days! and i met my goal! YEEHAW! then i gave myself a day off!
i was so enraged that i was shaking.
and it was all because she was avoiding nap time.
really, i should have held it together.
but i didn't.
after many many tears and a good long late night talk with my husband (who i had called earlier to see how close he was to being home), i realized some things.
besides my priority to God and my husband, there is no greater priority in my life than my kids.
i know this and have known this for a while.
but i think it finally hit home.
yep, it socked me in the chest and the gut and right between the eyes.
my kids come first (really, my relationship with God is intertwined throughout my entire life and my husband's needs have and do and will always be of first concern, but nothing ELSE should be above my kiddos)
~i can help my neighbors and can enjoy being with my neighbors, but my children's needs come over my neighbors' needs.
~i can volunteer at church 2 or 3 sundays a month, but if it's interfering with my kids' needs, then it's gotta go.
~cancelling plans with friends because my kids need me is not standing them up. it's the reality of life right now.
~if work would like me to come in for 4 days instead of 3, i really have to weigh the consequences for and to my children and not just get excited that we are getting some more money.
~hobbies: yes, i know it's good to have them and i need an outlet for myself. i get that. but even that's not a priority. hobbies are for spare time/time set aside for fun.
my hobbies are reading, scrapbooking, and really right now above all else blogging.
i am not called to keep up my blog everyday just because a handful of people read it.
i am not called to participate in every blog carnival there is because i want more followers.
i don't need to go read EVERYONE's blogs who have commented on my blog to be polite. yes, i do know that it's courtesy, but my kids need me more than a fellow blogger whom i don't even know. (side note: for those of you i have started following, you know what i mean. i'm not trying to insult you) time will come when i can spend hours during the day reading blogs (and maybe figuring out how to do the buttons and carnival creations and designs, not to mention making money)
i am not supposed to keep blogging a high priority in my life. yes, it is after midnight right now and i am typing this, but that's because it's on my heart and last night i couldn't sleep because i had these thoughts running through my head. (thus, a traveling thought. see?)
all this to say, i enjoy blogging, but if you comment on my blog and i don't comment on yours, it's not because i don't want to. i do, but at this time in life, i am choosing to make my kids my priority.
oh, and on a side note, i do go running, but that's not always a hobby. i need to get and stay in shape to be a healthy mommy for my family. (and i want to look somewhat attractive for my husband. i do have a long way to go in that department, though!)
the packing of a picnic lunch
the new friends to help get candy at the parade
i am participating in the new mcklinky blog hop and the first entry is an introduction about myself. so here i am.
my name is gianna and i am a child of God, a wife of chris, a mother of maya, brin, and dane, and a whole bunch of other things. i call my blog "a traveling thought" because i think about a lot of things. some of my thoughts make sense, some of my thoughts are ridiculous, some of my thoughts could change the world, but most ALL of my thoughts leave my brain never to come back. i figured if i blog about them, i will have a chance to remember them.
We got into the basement and saw water was GUSHING through the floor of the kitchen, into the storage room and alas, onto the computer which is in my workroom.
while chris was running up and down the stairs throwing things outside that either were garbage or needed to be dried (not to mention rippiing up the carpet and moving the furniture and throwing our scrapbooks ut of the way and saying a few more choice words. oh, and don't forget, he had just had his cortisone shot only a few hours earlier), i took the kids for a walk to get out of the way. our kids are so good! they followed along and were such good sports about it. it wasn't until maya said for the 10th time that i shouldn't ever leave the water running again did i get irritated by her.
when we got back to the house, i put in a movie for the girls to watch, and chris sent dane and me around to collect fans. our neighbors, jacque and dean gave us a fan to use, man power from dean, and ultimately a dehumidifier. oh, and then some downtime with chris to unwind for a little bit after the kids had gone to bed.
our neighbors mark and nancy gave us a couple of fans, some extra plugs, and ultimately breakfast for the morning. nancy made us a french toast bake. to make the next morning. it was the sweetest thing. i KNOW for a fact that she went back home and made it from scratch. she would say it wasn't a big deal. but it WAS. i FLOODED our basement and instead of saying, "sorry, that's too bad," they helped us clean up the mess and made us BREAKFAST!
we have really good neighbors! and God is SO good.
in the end, the computer was DRENCHED. but when dean and chris opened the hard drive, it was COMPLETELY dry. No damage!
the computer monitor and the keyboard and surge protector were completely doused, but the computer itself was spared.
also, about 2 weeks ago, i had moved our pile of papers that needs to be filed to a different spot than the computer desk. if i hadn't moved them, that pile would have been destroyed! that was a bonefide miracle. there was no reason to move those papers (except to actually put them away, but WHY would i do that when the pile works so well).
our house has been in disarray for a little while, but i think we'll be okay. what's better than a disaster than to get some projects done that need to get done, right?
i'm sorry there are no pictures. we were kind of in a rush to get things taken care of and i didn't want to make things worse! i'm sure you would understand.
and now for revealing the winner:
i loved librairiane's exploding microwave
jenny's hose into the basement cracked me up (but jenny, you kind of knew a little bit before the contest began, right? anyway, you are a IRL and i feel funny giving you a prize for my first contest, sorry)
micah, allyjoy, jennie: your entries were kind of what i WISH had happened. even the laptop sprouting legs (by the way, i really WANT a laptop. someday. sigh)
but i must say carey from life in the carpool lane cracked me up the most! i can just see my kids doing those things she suggested. if you ever play apples to apples with me, i don't pick the "right" answer. i always pick the one that tickles me the most and i think that carey's tickled me the most.
now for the prize: you will recieve in the mail a creation from make it zing. so take a look at some of the creations she has over there and i will be in contact with her about how to custom make something for you or your boys!
Thanks for participating everyone!
so now i'm back.