Andrew has been raising money door to door in Ghana, asking businesses and houses for donations. His dad pledged all $500 of his salary for the month of June. He must get his compassion from his father.
You know when people talk about celebrities they'd like to meet in their lifetime? I've had mine too! The Johnny Depps, the Natalie Portmans. I think I am this kid's number one fan now. I thank Heavenly Father for people like this who remind us what we can accomplish if we JUST ACT. (I'm the first one who needs this lesson, again and again)
Some things Andrew has said:
"There are hungry people in Ghana but our situation is not as desperate as the people of Somalia...This is a moment that mankind can touch lives. There is no point for others to have so much to eat while others have nothing to eat."
Here is a list of accountable nonprofits to donate to, working on this disaster now. Helping is so so simple. A text message? Is that really all it takes?
She stayed small enough that for the first month we swaddled her in flour sack cloths. Now she's still little but so alive and bright. She came two days early, two days that I know she was meant to spend with us. Now a whole year! So full of love for Elena. I am bursting at the seams.
Wish Evan could've stayed for the rest of her birthday with us. He is on a plane to Ohio for the night for work. Love you Evan!
This is a bit delayed, so bare with me. Things have been crazy busy for us. By some stroke of magic or luck or what ever you call it, Lindsay and I still find a way to brave the our doors. Thanks to some absolutely necessary help from our pals, Emily and Joe (and Vaughn, their 2-year-old), we were able to leave the kids behind and climb a mountain. We climbed Mt Si.
click to make it big!
Lindsay and I are trying to climb some mountains these days (more on that with future installments of the blog here). Mt Si was a great choice for us. It's a difficult 4 mile up climb. Then you go back the way you came making it a total of 8 miles. Total elevation gain is 3,150 or 3,700 ft (depending on who you ask). It's one of the local favorites for people who are training for Mt Rainier (one of the most technical Mountaineering summits in the US, and it's right in our back yard!).
Because of our plans for the day, we had very little time to hike the 8 miles. We were a little nervous about the hike since it's supposed to be so difficult. We knew we had to rush so we simply went. We trucked up that thing in well under 2 hours. Once we'd eaten our sandwiches (and shared with an alpine chipmunk), we made the trail pounding decent.
We had a blast. The view from the summit was kind of lame. Lots of fog, but it was cool to feel like our heads were in the clouds!
And here (not in that order, but I put the temple first because it was the most important place we went and we've been wanting to walk around the grounds for a long time with the girls):
Can you seen Elena and her daddy?
Lots of good moments at together at the temple grounds, and picking up Evan at work, and eating dinner out. Evan is going to Chicago for 3 days for a package design conference and we're going to miss him!
One of my favorites tonight - other than Elena dancing on Evan's shoulders, and them both being munchkins, Elena whispering little noises "conversing" with herself in the backseat on the way home, and Nina thanking me for dinner (which I didn't make tonight but I still appreciated her kindness) - was when kexp played beachhouse and Nina said "I love this! I love this new song." haha A happy night, just phone pics.
It's been three weeks. I think we'd all agree that it's feeling like home. It's where we sleep eat and where Nina throws tantrums. Here is our "you don't feel you're at home till" list, including but not limited to:
We've attended our new ward three (now four) times
Nina adjusted to her new nursery class (but still talks about friends from Kenmore a lot)
I met our postman Willie just today
Nina was rescued by another mom after falling into a pond at our first playgroup last week
Our first friendly treats brought to us by our neighbors
Our first treats we offered to a neighbor were rejected (they were pretty gross looking hahaa)
We finally put up some frames!
Our DVDs are alphabetized
Evan has his bus route down pat
We had our first fruit fly
Our first neighborhood shooting was a few days after we moved in
We've visited all parks including a beach within a 3 mile radius
We've had a guest stay over night (Nice to see you Scott we're glad you came!)
We held a slammin fathers day party with both sides of our family.
From a trip to the beach a couple of saturdays ago:
"You can hold your applause" - I think that's what Elena is saying in the picture above
The video shows some of her moves. The happiness of this baby girl.... just stay little, Elena, just stay little and perfect and innocent. Don't get me wrong, I'd love for her to start talking like Nina. And running around in little girl underwear all day long. There's something so great about Elena's age (almost 8 months!). It's too good to be true. But it is true.
Also, you can see Grandma Fay in the video. It was on last Tuesday which was two days before she passed away. We were listening to Irish music, getting ready for St Patty's Day.
AND see some pictures from a recent outing to St Edwards Park a couple of weeks back with the Stouts. Fun times!
That is the same guy in all the pictures. As a baby, and then as a man. haha It's pretty wild. I love it.
The photographer took old pictures and re-took them with the same people, composition, lighting, wardrobe, and setting. Why am I posting this picture? I will tell you
I feel like I am being instructed at this time to notice the wonder of the stages of life. Revealing to me again (for which I am soo grateful because it brings me so much peace and joy when I get the privilege) the wonder of God's loving hand. Which is always there even if I don't notice it. And when I do I'm sure I only notice the smallest part of it.
The picture above says this part of it - each of us maintain pieces of our young selves as we grow. There are bits of that baby left in the man in the pictures above. Also, we inherit and carry traits from each other through life. People get old while other new people come. The old and young cross paths, casually pass a high five of traits, and then say goodbye to each other. What if they could visit themselves or each other at different stages of life?
I'm grateful for the assurance that we all will see each other again. Maybe not in the trippy way illustrated by these pictures, but in the next life, definitely.
The majesty of that truth could not have been shown to me in a more beautiful way than in the last six months, as I've watched a deep love and trust grow between my two sweet girls and their even sweeter, ever present great grandma Fay. She had her spot on the couch. She had her spot at the table. Grandma Searle - Fay (Nina's namesake - Nina Fay) had one of the upstairs rooms. She turned ninety just recently. She suffered from diabetes, among other elderly challenges. Nina and Elena were grandma's happiest part of her day, aside from watching sports with my dad. When nothing else could, a little kiss or a hug from Nina or a the cutest bouncing baby smiling would make her smile and laugh.
Grandma Fay passed away last night, two or three minutes after Nina gave her the routine good night kiss. Several times in the day Elena grinned wildly at her even while grandma lay unaware on her bed. They gave her so much love.
In the last week or two, I've heard grandma say repeatedly how grateful she is for the girls. She's thanked me time and again for their loving her. She talked about them constantly when she left the house to go anywhere. I think they were a gift from God to her and vice versa before she finished her life here.
Nina has dealt with absence before in her simple baby girl way. Leaving Rexburg was a big loss for her which she has quickly forgotten a lot of. It's not only the loss that makes me sad, but watching her forget what she's lost. Evan and I carry the memory of it. We bear the burden of trying to make grandma's legacy stick in their lives somehow. It makes me so sad that she won't remember most of this golden time with her great grandma. Even though it was every day of the last six months. Six months being 1/4 of Nina's life at this point, and almost all of Elena's.
Then again, it was just a short 90 years ago that Grandma Fay was born. Maybe her mom felt the same way as she pondered the unknown future of her own daughter and tried to hold onto transient memories and people. Before we know it it'll be someone else's turn to be touched by another person.
Above all, I know we'll all see each other again. And I really do believe that just from these six months, Nina and Elena both carry a part of their great grandma within them. We are each others greatest gifts from God.
I hope I am changed from this experience, and that it helps me to be a better parent. This experience was made possible also by my parents. They took care of Grandma Fay so she could live at home with us. They let us be a part of their home again.
It's official, Nina and Elena have cousins in the state of washington! Better yet, right here in the puget sound region. Like 15 minutes away. It is awesome!! (germ sharing excluded, I'm sure we all agree) Cassy and Don just moved here from Boise. Nina LOVES these crazy boys. If I want to brighten her day some more, all I have to do is tell her when the next time is that she'll see Bowen.. whom she calls "Bonen".
Rosalie had planned a morning at Discovery Park this last Saturday, and last minute we shoved Ethan and Spencer in the back rear facing seat of our new car (more on that later hopefully). They seemed to really like it back there, especially cruising up and down hills through magnolia. We found the indoor nature/discovery kids areas at the park which had lots of stuff to play with and learn about. Also found a special needs swing that Nina LOVED as well as a zipline swing. Hadn't ever heard of such a thing before. Definitely going back to play there some more. Then we made it to the beach just as the sun broke through the clouds. Ethan wouldn't let me take any pictures of him!! So I found one from around Thanksgiving that I had to share:
PS I have to give a shout out to our impromptu lunch choice, which we happened to spot driving past it in in ballard while on the way to eat elsewhere (we still love you, Dicks). El Camion. Seattle isn't known for availability of latino food, so this was a really nice surprise. And I had no idea that taco trucks could rise to such heights of gastronomic grandeur. I love the average taco truck, yes I do. But THIS I had never imagined in my wildest dreams. Dreamy atole, rich mole, baby-size (literally not figuratively) burritos, all fresh and quality.
Happy 1/11/11! I'm hoping we make it a special one.
These were taken on 11/11/10. It makes me think - we've been here going on five months now.
I look at pictures of Nina 6 months ago. She's changing so fast. I have to remember - 6 months is more than 1/4 of her life! I forget how fast she's changing because so much around us has changed at a seemingly faster rate, and time sped up during the holidays. As a final touch of randomness, I leave you with a Nina-ism:
"Fast grape!" (She likes to run fast and one day she happened to have a grape in her hand)