Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kids say the craziest things

After walking a few blocks to the beach to see Daddy at Hood to Coast:

Me: You doing OK, bud? Is this too much walking?

Carter: Yeah. It's difficult for me.

What?! Not "hard", but "difficult".

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hang on mom!

Hood to coast

Daddy is running Hood to Coast this year and Carter is helping get the van ready!

Aunties Lindsey and Kellie and soon-to-be Uncle Matt are also running the race, but they are daddy's competition!

We speak the same language

At dinner tonight:

Me: Have you seen the Max (Portland's light-rail system) yet?

Esinam: No

Me: It's a light rail thing. Do you know what a light rail is?

Esinam: No

Chris: It's like a subway above ground

Esinam: Oh.

Me: Do you know what a subway is?

Esinam: No


We continued explaining for another 5 minutes and I think she has an idea of what it is now. She knows is it a transportation system that makes stops like a bus, but it is fast and it is also like a train in that it runs on a rail. I would LOVE to get inside her head and see the picture she has created!

It's funny how we can speak the same language, but because of where we are raised, we can completely misunderstand each other.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Esinam's 1st week

Esinam has officially been a Roberts for 1 week. When I think of everything we have discussed and she has learned, I'm surprised she hasn't had a meltdown with how overwhelming it must be! She has been a trooper, a bit tired and taking naps along with Carter, but a trooper!

She helps with everything and will even take charge with Carter when it comes to getting him in and out of the car. She would like me to assign more chores to her (she cleans her room, cleans the bathroom she shares with the boys and does dishes if I make dinner), but I told her we will see how it goes when school starts. I realize she is used to working hard at home and I expect her to do the same here, but I would rather she put her efforts towards school and experiencing what the US and high school have to offer.

This week:
She saw her first vacuum and learned how to use it (I knew to warn her of the noise prior to starting it)

We purchased her first swim suit - she had never tried one on, never been swimming and asked if she could get a swim suit that goes down to her knees. No, sorry. They don't make those :) but you can wear shorts over your suit.

We discussed how credit works in the US and how everyone uses credit to buy way more than than can afford

We explained, to her amazement, that we are not RICH in America. Some of our friends have homes more than twice the size of ours.

She saw her first dishwasher and learned how to use it - although she is still more comfortable doing dishes by hand

She learned about coupons! I scored 2 shirts for Carter today that would have been $30, but I paid $2.

She used a clothes washing machine for the first time

She used a microwave for the first time

Used an electric stove for the first time

We got her cell phone set up on our family plan (I've got to be able to reach her if I'm the carpooler)

Things I've learned about life in Ghana:

Washing clothes can take half of a day depending on how much she has to do
All her cooking is done over a fire outdoors
Cell phones are not allowed at school and her school is a boarding school (this is very common in Ghana and should not be confused with our version of boarding schools) so, calling home requires money and a pay phone.

I've learned a ton more, but it is more personal about her family life so I won't share it here.

My life with a teenager:
If only our kids could grow into such a "good" teenager. When reviewing the family rules with her (questionnaire provided by AFS) she pretty much set them. She told us she is not allowed to date. She can go out with groups, but not with a single boy. She also has to be home by 9 pm on a school night and 10:30 on a weekend. Quite a bit stricter than we would have been, but it works for me! I love that she respects her parents so much that she will stick to their rules when she is a half a world away.

Registration was crazy. Kids EVERYWHERE! We learned that soccer try-outs are MONDAY and you have to have a physical before then and pay $50 to participate prior to try-outs. We also had to locate and purchase soccer cleats and shin guards and socks. Try-outs are twice a day for 2 days and then practice will be daily... still not sure how I'll swing this with 2 age 2 and under.

Not sure I'm ready to be a real true soccer mom.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My preschooler

I cannot believe Carter goes to school! He has been asking since February to go to school - ever since he started going to Sunday school at our new church. HE LOVES IT! Turns out our church has it's own school! I thought it would be nice to give Carter something routine before Kwasi comes home. Something that, no matter how hectic it is at home, he has for himself, that he can count on. The minimum he was allowed to attend is 2 days each week for 2/5 hours. UGH! That's a lot for me, but again, I figured it would be good for him.

They didn't have space available until just 2 weeks ago. So, when they called and said they had room, I gave the go ahead. We got his Elmo backpack and, as required, put an extra outfit and underwear inside (just in case) and off we went. Class starts at 8:30 with breakfast (no they don't need me to bring a sippy cup as the children use dixie cups thank you). We found his cubby easily enough. I think I forced him to take a second to kiss me good-bye before he took off running to meet the other kids at the breakfast table.

I held back the tears. Honestly. I did. Not one little one dropped.

When I went back at 11:15 to pick him up, I was greeted with his little hand up in a "stop" position followed by "no mommy! Eat! Go mommy!". Well! I guess it is safe to say he likes his school. I even pulled out the secret weapon: I had just picked up GG from the airport. Even she couldn't persuade him. We wait a bit and when he was done with his lunch and had cleared his plate, he casually walked over to us and let us know that he was now ready to go home.

Miss Mila asked if this was his first day at school, because she was surprised he didn't have a single meltdown. She said most kids had a hard time their first week. Umm.. not my kid. He's pretty darn confident that mommy isn't going anywhere that she won't be coming back for him so he might as well enjoy being out of the house. He's even started asking us to take him to Gramma and Papa's house and go to Africa to get Kiki.

So, now I have a preschooler. He loves it, I'm adjusting. Overall I'm thrilled that he has something that is his that will give him a break once Kwasi gets home. It will also give mommy some Kwasi-only bonding time.

Getting ready for Esinam

I can't believe that we pick up Esinam tomorrow! I'm so excited for what this year has in store for her. I've been in her shoes twice myself as an exchange student in Mexico and then in Spain. I had amazing families both times, but the first few days in someone else's home can be nerve-wracking no matter how great the family is.

I've been getting a few things ready for her arrival. First, I decided that the bathroom she will share with the boys needed a bit of an update. I didn't do tooooo much to it, but I'm loving how different it looks. First, we (you know I had the hubs pitch in) removed the big mirror from the wall and replaced it with a nice framed mirror. I had to do some wall patching so of course I also had to repaint the bathroom. I painted it the same color, but it was a bit off so, the ENTIRE bathroom had to be done.

Next, we removed the cutesy shelve and followed The House of Smiths advice and came up with this:

If you give a mouse a cookie... I decided I needed new towels and a new bathmat.

Ah, so much better!

On to her room. I've been wanting to add something above the guest bed forever, but couldn't figure out what to put there. I came across this quote "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step" and thought that sounded pretty perfect for above Esinam's bed. Her journey is actually more like the journey of 7 1/2 thousand miles, but who's counting?

I also emptied all the picture frames on the walls of our family members. In place of two of them, I added a photo of her parents and a photo of Independence Square in Accra. The rest are empty and ready for her to fill with images from home or of new friends and experiences. We gave her a camera when we saw her last so that she could come with prepared with pictures of home!

Let the countdown begin.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


What do you think happened next?

A) Carter flew off the tub and was dragged behind the boat several yards
B) Uncle Nick saved the day
C) Carter pulled himself up and they continued tubing

Man, this picture makes me laugh and then makes me cry. It breaks my heart to see the terror in Carter's face and the stress on poor Nick's. I can laugh because everything turned out just fine. You can see in the video, Daddy wasn't driving fast at all. As Carter moved to get on his tummy and Nick readjusted as well, the front of the tub took on a bit of water. Nick grabbed on to Carter as soon as he sensed any danger, but after a few feet was shocked that they were still moving. We all realized Carter was still holding the ski rope! I can't believe his little arms had the strength! Nick got him to let go and all calmed down immediately. It seems like it went on for minutes, but it really happened in a snap.

So, the answer is B. Thank you Uncle Nick!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Good mom/bad mom

Good mom: making sure your child behaves well at the store

Good mom: making sure your child isn't dressed like a dork

Bad mom: having your child act up in public and allowing it to continue

Now, the dilemma: you child is misbehaving in public because he wants to wear his new black socks you just bought with his shorts and slip on shoes......

I went with the dork option because maybe no one will notice the offensive attire, but everyone notices the fussy kid.

Sauvie island

Berry picking (and eating as you can see by Carter's face) at Sauvie Island with GG was so much fun!