Sunday, June 27, 2010

Preparing slowly

I have decided that I am going to slowly prepare my family for life in the tribe. I heard of a missionary family who in preparation to go to Africa, stopped using their air conditioner and had the entire family wear chacos everywhere. While I am on board with the chacos (I don't actually own chacos, but I do wear flip flops everywhere, so I think that counts) I am not on board with giving up my air conditioning. My philosophy on that is to use it while I can, and create beautiful memories together to think about when I am sweating profusely in the tribe. We are going to take baby steps, people, baby steps.

Up to this point, unless it just happened naturally we haven't taken major steps to live life like we would in the tribe. (We did have one class in our training that tried to give us an idea about what life will be like. It was called "simple living" but it only lasted 10 days and when it was done there was much rejoicing and everyone returned to life as is). In fact, I have been indulging my kids for quite some time with a little more junk food and TV than I normally would allow them, because I figure that soon enough they won't get either. Plus, sometimes I feel a little guilty that they probably won't get to experience things that "normal" American kids get to, like going to Disney World... or college.

Our current baby step is to spend as much time outside as possible. It is actually quite easy right now while we are staying with my mom who happens to have lake front property. But we are outside in the heat and humidity, playing with various creatures and getting bitten or stung by many varieties of insects. Our list so far includes ants, mosquitoes, red wasps, and yellow jackets. It has been an exciting month. ****update: within an hour of posting this, Mae got stung by a honey bee after trying to crawl out of my mom's doggie door to her backyard****

On a more fun note, my mom's place is crawling with tree frogs, which apparently are spawning now and so this place is also crawling with baby tree frogs. Yeah, that's right! They are teeny tiny, itsy bitsy, and every other cute phrase that represents something being ridiculously small. Here is a picture of Lucy holding one. I am also trying to teach my kids not to touch any animal, insect, plant, etc. without asking me. Not much here poses a threat but who knows what innocent looking amphibian might pee poison in New Guinea. It really is a hard balance to achieve- teaching them to enjoy being outside in nature, but to also be slightly on their guard for dangerous things. Although, when I think about it, is really that different here? I mean I can worry all day long about New Guinea, but then I watch the news or MTV and realize that raising kids here is just as may be more familiar but it is just as scary. Can I get an "Amen" from all the moms out there!

So, for now we are enjoying our adventures at the lake. Here are some more pictures just for fun! This is Lu bravely jumping off the dock! And me yelling at Mae to not drink the lake water... She is listening well, don't you think?

P.S. Our next "baby step" is no TV. We sold ours before we left Missouri and when we move back to Mississippi there won't be one to watch. Please do not tell my children. They may lock themselves in their room at Grammie's and refuse to leave.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tribal Babies

The most common question I get asked when people find out what we are doing is, "What about your kids? Aren't you worried about them?" And the answer is, "No, I am this new breed of Supermom that always has it all together and never ever worries about her kids." BAH HA HA!! Look at this picture. Is this the epitome of paranoid or what? Actually, she put all this on herself just to get in her baby pool! She is the paranoid one- not me! Yeah, right! You should have seen me the other day when a herd of geese got a little too close to my kids when we were attempting to feed them bread. After I had a tiny heart attack, I realized that it was quite comical. Anyway, so yeah, I worry a little. I worry about their health, and safety, their ability to one day join normal society, their education of which I will be largely responsible for (now you are all worried about that, huh?) Yeah, I worry about them. I know, though, that they are in the Lord's hands and I cannot protect them from every hurt and sorrow (Why,God? That would be so much easier on my heart and my blood pressure).

In all reality, it is selfish for me to want to protect them like that, because it hurts me to see them hurt. We all grow and mature through trials an hardships, so I know they will have to go through difficult things sometimes- I just pray that it is something that will not kill me in the process. Anyway, the thing I worry about the most is that they just won't like it. That they will be scared or bored or completely illiterate from being home schooled. I grew up reading missionary stories and was always really jealous of missionary kids. Their lives seemed so adventurous and cool. Plus, they always had the best stories. I really pray that my kids love their life in the tribe. As they grow, I have caught a few glimpses that give me hope. They seem to be adventurous little boogers! It may take them a little to get used to something new, but once they do, they are all in! Here are a few pictures of them at a friend of my mom's who invited us over to play on their huge inflatable slide.

(Sorry about the blur, this is before I figured out the "sport" setting on my camera would be best for water slide action, also, it is to encourage my husband to buy me a digital slr)

This is Mae climbing the wall better than she can walk a straight line.
And remember the baby in the excessive amount of flotation devices? This was her 2 days ago in my mom's lake...with no flotation devices...even putting her head under the water. After a tiny heart attack, I was very proud of her!

(I have no idea what setting this is on...again the need for a "real" camera)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

trip to the zoo

No, we are not in the tribe yet. This is a monkey in the zoo. My kids have never been, so my mom thought that they were completely deprived of a normal childhood experience and that if she didn't take them immediately they would need serious psychological help. I agreed to go until I found out that the zoo in Montgomery now costs $10 for adults and $7 for kids!!! Is it just me or is that outrageous for a zoo, especially the Montgomery zoo. But, my mom insisted on taking them and said she would pay, and fearing that she would call social services on me, I once again got on board. It was a lot of fun, in spite of the ever- loving indescribable heat. I mean this is what the temp in our van said when we got back in.
Our van does have a tendency to exaggerate the temp sometimes, but this time I believed it! It was HOT!!! I did learn a very important lesson about tribal wives on this outing which is why I am blogging about it...they cannot have bangs!(at least this tribal wife cannot) My first order of business is to grow my bangs out. I do not want to live my life with sweaty goopy bangs plastered to my forehead! I also learned another important lesson about my tribal husband...he is very immature. This picture he took is proof. OK, so maybe I already knew that. And maybe it is one of the reasons I married him. Because let's just get honest. That is pretty funny. You know you laughed!

Monday, June 14, 2010

No swagger wagon

This is definitely a tribal wife!! Her name is Sonya. Notice she has a dirt bike instead of a minivan and her baby in a sling instead of a car seat. Before you car seat enthusiasts get all upset, there really are no other options when you live in the middle of the bush in Africa. We had a similar situation in China. We rode in taxis all day long with our kids in our laps. It was very scary, yes, but there was not a car seat to be found in China, and even if there was, there were no seat belts to strap it in anyway. So, we got in a taxi we said lots of prayers! Thankfully, taxi's were expensive, so we mostly walked or took the bus everywhere. Back to the tribe. My tribal husband, who honestly, thinks he already is a tribal husband decided during our training that he had to have a dirt bike because that is what we will have in the tribe and he needs to learn to ride one now, so he doesn't break his neck in the jungle. My answer was "we cannot afford a dirt bike". His answer, "I know, I can get a 'fixer upper' and then learn to work on small engines. I don't want our only transportation to break down in the middle of the jungle and me have no way to know how to fix it." It was hard to argue with that, so I agreed thinking he would never find one that we could afford anyway. Well, guess what? He found one. He spent about 2 months riding it and about 6 months fixing it, but he replaced the whole top end (top end of what? I have no idea, but apparently it is a big deal, like the engine or the specks on the rotary gurder... who knows?) So, he was proud of himself and gave me a little security knowing that he can fix stuff if it breaks, and there isn't a mechanic for miles or years or on the same hemisphere. The only problem was that he had to sell it recently as we are now in our support raising process, and is still in the grieving the loss. To be honest, I miss that bike a little too. He used to take the girls on rides and they really really loved it. It was really sweet to see that daddy- daughter time- even though I had a tiny heart attack and said lots of prayers until they got back. But, PLEASE do not tell him I said that. If he thinks for a minute, I would let him buy another one. He will start trying to wear me down...immediately.Anyway, back to Sonya, here she is now with my kids.
They love her to death! She now works at the Missionary Training Center as a childcare teacher, which is probably as close to working in the tribe as you can get. That is a true tribal wife- she cannot break away from the chaos because that chaos is attached to people (little or big) that she loves!

Friday, June 11, 2010

This is NOT a "tribal wife". This is Donna Reed, the ultimate wife. Before you tell me I am too young to know anything about this, please know that I was a very strange child and loved "Nick at Night", so I watched a lot of retro TV. Anyway, I loved The Donna Reed show. I also loved The Dick Van Dike show, and Welcome Back Kotter, but those are for another post. So anyway, when I imagined a "housewife" as kid, this is what I had in mind. Donna Reed. She was perfect. Perfect hair. Clothes. Kids. Dinner. House. Everything was perfect. Now I know better. I mean, what did she do with those kids while cooking that perfect meal that must have taken hours? She had to have put them in a play pen. A real play pen. You know, the big square kind that no one sells anymore. Not the tiny pack-n-play that will make the most neglectful mother feel guilty about leaving a baby in to play for any length of time. Those old play pens were enormous! I think a toddler could sit on one end and not see the other side! Ok, well, maybe they weren't that big, but close. Wait, did they have those in the 50s? I know I never actually saw one on the Donna Reed show, but I just assume that is what the 50s wife did. If it isn't, then don't tell me. I don't want to feel anymore inadequate than I already do. Anyway, back to the tribal wife, which is what I am going to be soon. What is a tribal wife? Technically, this is a tribal wife...But, of course, I won't exactly look like that. I will be a tribal missionary's wife. Which is a whole other story. Someone who fits in a lot better with picture number 2 than with Donna Reed. In all honesty, I am not totally sure what it will look like, but I know that in less than a year. I will be a wife, and mother to 3 little girls in a remote location in Papua New Guinea. It will be exciting, weird, and probably a little scary. There is apparently some sort of "look" or "image" of a tribal wife. When we first started missionary training, my husband asked my neighbor if she and her husband were going to a tribe. She answered, "Do I look like a tribal wife to you?" Not really knowing a lot about what a "tribal wife" is supposed to look like, I had no idea how to answer, then I worried to myself, "Do I look like a tribal wife? Am, I supposed to look like a tribal wife? What the heck does a tribal wife look like, anyway?" I spent the next few semesters of training getting a better picture, but to be totally honest, I still don't really know for sure, so I decided to keep this blog as I try to figure it out. I know that it means dealing with bugs, lizards, snakes, malaria, and the heat, oh for the love of all that is good and decent, the heat! I love air conditioning and I am not afraid to admit it! Wait...maybe I shouldn't admit that. A tribal wife probably isn't supposed to love air conditioning. Oops! I guess I am not off to a very good start!