Little Update

A lot has been going on in the Taylor household these past months and time is just flying by.  We’re in the throws of our last 2 months in Ethiopia.  I get a lump in my throat every time I think about it.  We’re closing out our time with Water is Life and are looking forward to moving back to the U.S for a new season.  There are a lot of unknowns in our future…where we’ll be, what we’ll be doing, but from the moment we made the decision to pack things up here, we’ve had this extraordinary peace. We’re looking forward to what God has in store down the road…a little nervous, but mostly excited.

We’re making the most of these last months here in Awassa.  Every day I love this town and these people more and more…which doesn’t bode well for the inevitable goodbyes.

Ben’s been traveling a lot, which has given me the time and incentive to really invest in my relationships with other women in town.  I looking forward to the day when I’m not home alone quite so much, but in the mean time, I spend most of my days wandering the streets of Awassa with Elaine in tow and having coffee at friends’ houses.  I’m incredibly blessed to be surrounded by women that welcome me into their lives and love on Elaine while Ben’s away.

Here’s a little glimpse of what’s been going on in our lives over the past 2 months or so.

Elaine celebrated her 1st birthday with a big bash. She loved being the center of attention and waddled around in her traditional Ethiopian dress.

We also had a visit from some Carolina friends.  Greg, Abbie, and Ashley came out for a quick whirlwind taste of Ethiopia.  We loved having them here!

These ladies below were two of my dearest friends here in Awassa.  They both are back in the US now, but I’m not sure I would have survived my years in Awassa without them!  Those goodbyes were hard to say. I’m already looking forward to coming back for a visit!

 On September 11th we celebrated the Ethiopian New Year.  Hello, 2005!  This holiday is a big deal here and we celebrated it with good friends and lots of food! We made three stops and filled up on our doro watt allotment for the year.  It was delicious!

Elaine is growing and changing and keeping us on our toes.  She’s learned how to escape from the house and twice we’ve found her outside digging in the garden and playing with the hose.  She’s figured out how to open the gate on our porch, thanks to Mac’s demonstrations, and she now prefers to wander the yard solo.  Thankfully we live in a gated compound, but I seriously have to get her under control before we live in a place where a baby wandering outside alone isn’t so kosher.  She eats like a horse and is never ever still.  Her napping skills are still atrocious, but she’s taken on the habit of sleeping in till 9, so I can’t complain.  She loves guava, which is good, because that’s all that’s in season right now, and she can down 2 avocados in 1 sitting. She is the sweetest companion and I love spending my days with her.

Yesterday we celebrated my 27th birthday.  Ben was home, and made sure it was a special day.  He even whipped up his famous fried chicken and sweet potato biscuits.  I almost felt like I was back in Charleston.  I’m so glad he was home to celebrate. I felt very loved…and didn’t have to change one single diaper.

The meskal flowers were in bloom just in time for my birthday.  I love this time of year.  Ben hired a man to sneak into the “airport” (which is really just a fenced off field of grass) and pick these.  I’m a lucky lady:)

Our internet is t.e.r.r.i.b.l.e these days.  If this ever loads it will be a miracle.

Love from Awassa!

Advertisements

Miss·Elaine·eous: 10 and 11 months

Seeing as I didn’t lug a baby book halfway around the world with me, I don’t really have any documentation of Elaine’s life besides this. I’ve never been good at remembering dates. I have to ask for Ben’s birthdate every time I fill out a form at the airport. I’m terrible at it. I am in awe when I talk to moms that can recall the day their babies started crawling or eating solid food or gave up their pacifiers…and their babies are now full grown adults. I can’t even remember how old my baby is currently. I told someone she was 9 months old yesterday. False. She’s almost 1. Yikes.

All that to say, this whole miss.elaine.eous thing has been very helpful, I’ll feel like one of those stellar moms that can remember everything. Until I realize that I haven’t written anything in the last 3 months and it’s all one big blur of baby.

But let me give it a shot…

Elaine is now one teeny, tiny, talking, walking machine. She is on the move and she loves it. She’s a slower walker than she is crawler, so I’m enjoying that part. She gets a kick out of walking and does it best when she has a golf ball in each hand.

She may be walking, but she’s a walking baby…not a toddler. Wishful thinking? She is still so small.  She weighs 19 lbs. Which apparently puts her in the bottom 10%. But she still has rolls so I’m guessing she’s just petite and healthy.  In America she had a growth spurt and outgrew all her 3-6 month footie pjs.  She was 10 months old.  Come to think of it, maybe it’s just because all her clothes were put in a dryer for the first time and shrank…or maybe it was the pounds and pounds of blueberries she ate every meal.

Just before Elaine got to the 10 month mark, she took her first solo steps. We were pretty excited…until I remembered that I would be flying alone with her to the US. Thankfully she took a very encouraged hiatus from walking for a few weeks so I didn’t have to chase her down the aisles of the airplane.

I feel like each stage of her life is more fun than the last. She can play the whole “how big is Elaine?” game (or as we call it “touchdown Carolina!”) and has just learned how to give kisses. She can sign “more” and “all done” although her preferred means of communication is total meltdown. She has started imitating us which is a fascinating, and somewhat scary, thing.  The other day I was smacking my gum and sure enough all afternoon Elaine smacked on her imaginary gum.

She’ll also pick up anything that resembles a phone, put it to her ear and say “Hi”, pause, then fake laugh. It cracks us up.

Now that her hands are free when she walks, she carries around this little zebra pouch (thanks Aunt Carol!) and puts anything round she can find into it. Hours of fun.

She also loves sitting on things. People, boxes, Mac. But her favorite thing is her booster seat when it’s on the ground. She’ll sit there and pretend to read. She looks like a little old man in her La-Z-boy. Oh, man. We love her so much.

The Nanny

Elaine has a new nanny these days.  He’s dark and handsome and is very attentive to her every need.

Sometimes I think he’s going to eat her, but so far so good.  I just pretend not to see the kisses he plants on the top of her head when she’s sitting in her bouncy seat.  Her hair is permanently slicked back.  Ok, that’s gross.  I should probably put a stop to that.  But’s it’s cute, no?

He’s gets so concerned when he hears her cry.  Maybe a little too concerned.

And he loooves her squeaky toys.  He thinks it’s his job to take Sophie the giraffe out to her natural habitat in the backyard.  And apparently it’s my job to sanitize her daily.  Or maybe I should try training him.  Yeah right.

They are two peas in a pod.  They both whine when they don’t get attention, get excited over squeaky noises, love me unconditionally (Elaine loves Ben too-but Mac has more of a healthy fear of him), and provide us with endless hours of entertainment.

They are quite the pair.

 

Around the river bend…

I’ve never been one of those people that can remember song lyrics.  I can listen to a song a hundred times but if I want to sing it on my own I draw a blank.  It’s been a challenge as I try to think of songs to sing to Elaine while we’re rocking.  She gets a lovely combination of bits of old hymns mixed with the the Black Eyed Peas and songs from the movie My Best Friends Wedding.  Poor thing.  I also made the discovery, as I scoured my brain for any lyrics that may be hiding, that I also know all the words to the Pocahontas soundtrack.  Thanks to a summer spent driving from Wisconsin to North Carolina and everywhere in between with 1 CD (or was it tapes back then?) my sister and I could belt out “Colors of the Wind”  and “Just Around the River bend” with the best of them.

This morning as I was changing Elaine and humming about the aforementioned river bend, I was thinking about what was ahead for us…just around our river bend.  Cheesy, i know, but I have a new baby- I’m sleep deprived (OK, that’s a lie, she sleeps a lot), Disney just gets me thinking.  Truth be told, I woke up with a pit in my stomach.  Every time I think about the fact that in a week and a half we’ll be in Ethiopia I get this overwhelming flood of emotion.  On one hand I am excited to go “home”, be on our own, see our friends, start our routine, live real life.  But on the other hand I am a basket case.  My mind fills with doubts and fears that lay heavy on my heart. What if Elaine gets sick?  What will I do when Ben is away?  What if I’m lonely?  What if we’re in a car accident?  What if I’m not packing what we need?  What if, what if, what if…  But those doubts aren’t from God.  Those fears are from the parts of my heart where I don’t let him in.  I can say that I believe he goes before me and will be with me, but sometimes I’m not sure that I really do.  Or maybe I believe it, but it doesn’t look the way I want it to look.  God being with us does not always mean health and safety and comfy beds and warm meals.  It does not mean we will be comfortable and happy- as much as I would like it to.  But we are going where He has called us.  And I believe that I will find JOY there.  Maybe not happiness all of the time, but His JOY.  And I get excited to see what He has waiting.  Because, as we have seen over and over in our lives, His surprises are never a letdown.  Exhibit A, our little Elaine.

So we’re filling these last days stateside with all the things we love.  And that includes as much time as possible with our little nephew.  Oh man, I’m going to miss him!  And so will Elaine it appears.

Spring Showers

This past weekend the lovely ladies of Awassa threw me my very first baby shower.  Yes, it seems a little early- but this town clears out in the summer (rainy season) and I’ll be heading out before too long as well!. My sweet friend, Felecia hosted the event and it was just perfect- complete with fresh strawberry lemonade to cool off the hot hot afternoon.

the lovely host

lemonade.  so. good.

opening presents

We have this tradition of making a big deal out of babies out here. It’s an excuse for all the ladies to get together, relax, chat in English and eat delicious food. When we moved out here I definitely did not expect to be joining the baby club. But obviously God had other plans and the way its all unfolding is beautiful.

The women that came are from all over the world- Sweden, Norway, Russia, Ethiopia, America, Canada, to name a few. And they all came with stories of what birth and raising a baby is like in their home country. I learned about babies napping outside in the winter in Russia, how they fold diapers all over, and how orange soda is the drink of choice for new moms in Ethiopia.  I love the idea of meshing all the ideas together to raise our little one.  (Although a cold winter nap may be hard to come by over here.  sigh.  And i think I’ll pass on the soda.  But some of the other ideas were good:)

I’ve been realizing more and more what a blessing it is to be surrounded by all these ladies during my first pregnancy.  Most of my close friends from back home are not at the baby-making phase of life yet (although I keep trying to talk them into it- hint, hint).  We’re young.  Only crazy kids like us are having kids already.  It’s true- we’re crazy.  But out here I’m surrounded by experienced moms of babies, teenagers, and even grand babies.  Not quite the same group of friends I would probably have back home.  But I love it.  And I love that they so freely invite me into their lives to see how it all works.  It’s a scary thing, this whole idea of parenting.  But God, in his sneaky way/ infinite wisdom has surrounded me with just who I need to help me navigate these waters and breath a little easier along the way.

…………………………

While I was at the shower Ben was hard at work at home.  I came home to a beautifully painted nursery!  In this life of ours that is anything from ordinary, it’s nice to do those things, like paint a nursery and nest, to make us feel semi-normal.  The paint color is a little crazy (the picture below doesn’t show how florescent it is) but our options were pretty limited.  Regardless, it makes it look fresh and ready for a new lil’ tenant.

Ben hard at work (with our handy dandy drill- thanks Pawpaw and Betty:)

ta da!

Can’t wait till that room is occupied!

the good days & the bad days

When we were getting ready to move out here a wise woman shared some advice, she said “You’ll have good days and bad days, just like anywhere- just don’t make big decisions on the bad ones.”

Well, we haven’t been making any big decisions for a while.

There have been a lot of days where I’ve watched planes fly overhead and wished with all my heart that we could be on it heading home.  It’s not that life out here is unbearable (far from it, most of the time), it’s just that the grass is greener on the other side.  I want hot water in my kitchen.  I want AC.  I want a job that I can leave at the office at the end of the day and forget about.  I want a chick-fil-a sandwich.  I want to not have to see the horse with the broken leg that’s been dying outside of our gate for the last 4 days.  Did I mention I wanted a chick-fil-a sandwich?  I’m selfish- I probably shouldn’t even say these things out loud.  But it’s the truth.  Sometimes days out here just plain stink.

BUT, in the midst of some tough days we’ve had some pretty incredible ones as well.  Like this morning Ben, Mac and I were snuggling on the bed and Ben felt the baby move for the first time.  I’ve been feeling her for a while, but I could never time it right for Ben to feel it too.  Feeling her move makes me smile every time.  Does it ever get old?  I can’t imagine it does.  It makes us even more excited to meet our little one (or big one- but that’s another story).

Oh, and we think Baby Taylor is going to be a GIRL!  Or so the Ethiopian who did the ultrasound said.  Ben has thought that since the day I told him we were pregnant.  So has everyone else.  How do people know these things?  Just a lucky guess I suppose.  But we are so thrilled!  I feel like having a girl is probably a good way for a brother-less girl to ease into motherhood.

Another good day was finally getting our tickets to go back to the U.S.  Looks like I’ll be arriving on June 1st!  After a long, long plane ride.  Not so excited about flying for 15 hours non-stop…alone…very pregnant.  But I am excited to be headed that direction.  Ben will be following a few weeks later, on the 21st of June.  Then the party can really start!  Man, we have a lot to do before then!

Oh, yes.  And the bump picture….

at 21 weeks.  and growing daily (or hourly it seems)

Around the House

Every once in a while we have to do things out here and we think- “sure didn’t have to do this in Charleston”

like trim our banana trees…

Ben’s clean-up crew= Macintosh

As Ben was trimming, this little guy showed up…

Maybe he was feeling a little territorial about his banana trees

Can anyone say “Outbreak”?  That is not a smile.

And that was pretty much what our day looked like.  Oh yes, and we drilled a well.  But more on that later!