November 7

Today I’m thankful for my in-laws. I don’t think they have a mean bone in their bodies and everyone they meet is a friend. if you’ve never had the chance to meet them, you’re missing out. They have been great long distance grandparents to Lincoln. They’re always willing to help and are so gracious. It’s a huge blessing to be part of this family. 

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November 6

Well, I can’t be thankful for friends who are like family and not be thankful for my real family 🙂 Today I’m thankful for my parents and sister (and her family, by extension). No need to explain, I guess. They’re just awesome. 

And, for my mom’s amusement, I need to tell you all that I find myself singing songs while I cook like she used to. “Bowlie bowlie… bowlie bowlie.” or “Stirring and stirring and stirring my brew… oooooo oo, ooooo oo.” Maybe Lincoln will do the same one day 🙂 hah. 

Freak. Out.

So, there is this saying here, “Allah Korusun.” It’s not really a saying so much as the equivalent of a cheesy bumper sticker like, “Jesus is my Co-Pilot” or something. It means, “God protect.” And while I’m sure they only write it as a fatalistic what-happens-happens kind of thing, tonight I’m thankful that it’s true. Let me give a brief example why. 

Josh is out of town this week at a conference, so I’m on single parent duty with the kiddo. Aside from a weird screaming tantrum yesterday, he’s actually been really good. He generally is. Anyway, tonight I was picking up his toys in the living room while his bath filled up and he was just roaming back and forth with his toys. Then, I hear this loud crash…. but no scream or cry or anything. So of course, I run to the bathroom. And there is Lincoln, standing in the middle of a large pile of shattered glass. He tried to carry our scale somewhere, but dropped it at the bathroom door. The scale is usually pushed up under the cabinets, but I guess it was poking out just enough to make him curious. Ugh. 

So, I picked him up and grabbed everything I needed to clean it up while carrying him around, then threw him in the bathtub while I swept, vacuumed and mopped up the mess. And he has no idea anything was wrong. 

Praise the Lord the kid was too stunned to know what happened as he stood there in his bare feet surrounded by little shards of glass. Praise the Lord. 

Mom of the year, right here. 

November 5

Today I’m thankful for friends who basically become family. We had a few friends like this in the states before we came (Hi, Morgan! Hi, Kimberly!), but I think it takes on new meaning within the expat community. With our real families so far away, we celebrate holidays, birthdays, good days, bad days…everything with our family here. They go through the nitty gritty with us, they weep with us, they rejoice with us. It’s such a blessing to have brothers and sisters in Christ who really function just like that – as brothers and sisters. And these friends have been the best aunts and uncles to Lincoln since he’s so far away from his real ones. Such a blessing. 

November 4

Today I’m thankful for unseasonably warm, dry weather that allowed Lincoln and I to go on a long walk and play at the park for a long time this morning 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, I loooove winter weather. I can’t wait to pull out my sweaters and gloves. But for this week, when I’m home alone with the kiddo and have to entertain him all day, it’s nice to be able to just be outside. He didn’t even fight getting in the stroller when we left the house or when we left the park! That’s rare. 

November 3

Today, I’m thankful for lazy Sunday mornings. We don’t have to leave for church til around 10:30, which means we have 3 hours or so to just hang around the house and play with Lincoln, go for walks when the weather is nice, and just not be rushed or feel like there are 500 things to be done. Church here is a little hectic/overwhelming sometimes, so it’s nice that we can spend the morning relaxing before it all starts!

It’s November

November means lots of things… especially this year. Along with the smelly candles, changing leaves, dropping temps (I hope), it also means packing starts and so do the goodbyes. As of November 1, we have 70 days left before we go back to the states. It seems like so long, but I know it’s going to absolutely fly! And I don’t know if I’m excited or dreading it. I know it’s a combination…. and it depends on what day you ask me.

But, in light of all the mess that’s gone on lately and the pretty sour attitude I have about some things, I thought this would be a great year to join on the bandwagon and talk about something I’m thankful for every day of November. And since I didn’t get on the computer last night…. 2 for today.

I’m thankful that, even though he won’t remember it, Lincoln got to spend the first year and a half of his life here. Things are so different and most of that is to his benefit. He has spent a year and a half being treated like a mini celebrity because of his blonde hair (and his propensity to smile and make the I’m embarrassed face). He’s been able to run around the mall like a crazy kid because we don’t have to be afraid that someone is going to hurt him or kidnap him. Like last night, when he just ran around Starbucks and played with the girls that work there while we took part in their daily taste testing 🙂 He has more ‘family’ than he could ever need. Because he gets passed around all the time and meets new friends, he’s been able to develop his insanely extroverted personality. And even through he won’t remember any of it except in pictures we show him, he’s gotten to travel to some pretty awesome places. Coming from a place where most people don’t really leave the state (or sometimes the city), it’s pretty awesome that his passport will always say he was born here.

Ok, now to number 2. I’m thankful for Josh. We have had a crazy three years here after not long being married before we came. He is so patient and gracious! He is always more concerned about everyone else than himself and God has been able to use that so much here. He really has a servant heart and prefers to do things unnoticed, behind the scenes… he doesn’t even like it when people praise him for things he’s done. He’d rather they never found out. He is a wonderful father to Lincoln and a great husband to me, despite my many, MANY faults. I’m a blessed lady.

Swamp “Preserve”

A few weeks ago we just wanted to get out of town for a bit and ended up going to the Swamp Preserve. Josh and I went when Lincoln was still in the belly and it wasn’t finished yet, so we thought it’d be fun to go now that everything is done.

Ha.

They drained the swamp. Yes, that’s right. At the location named the Swamp Preserve… they drained the swamp. Please, someone explain that to me.

Anyway, we did get some fun pictures.

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They’re also putting in a “zoo.” Yeah. One cage had some peacocks and chickens and the other was empty. Neither were larger than a standard back yard in the states. So. Weird.

Chicken Spaghetti

So, we technically haven’t tried this one yet… but I’m scared I’m gonna lose the paper before we even get to try. 

1 lb spaghetti, broken in 2-to-3-inch pieces
1 to 2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 Tbsp seasoning salt or lemon pepper
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 to 2 cans cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 350. Boil noodles in broth and water according to package directions. Drain noodles, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. In a baking dish, place noodles, chicken, onion, bell pepper, 1.5 cups cheese and seasonings. Add one can of soup and stir in a little of the reserved liquid until desired consistency. If too dry, add other can of soup. Stir until combined. Cover with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes or until bubbly.