Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christmas Pictures...Grrrr...

So, I am trying really hard to make sure that this is a wonderful holiday season for Sunda and the rest of us. I am not a naturally good "holiday planner." However, I also tend to make huge last-minute demands of myself to make sure that it comes off nicely. In the process of me running around on Christmas Eve Day baking 12 dozen cookies and making centerpieces, my husband tends to suffer. I have vowed that Sunda won't have to go through the pain of a stressful holiday because of my disorganization. So, I've started early. Making my lists and checking them twice. Like I said...trying really hard.

One of the most important parts of this whole process is, of course, the age old struggle of getting a good picture to send out on a Christmas card (preferably before Christmas). I remember when I was young that the first Christmas card my mom opened (usually in the few days after Thanksgiving) was the one that reminded her that we needed to get on the ball and get some pictures taken so that we could send out our own card. There would then be the scramble to find coordinating clothes and get all four of us kids smiling long enough to snap a shot deemed worthy of hanging on the refridgerators of our families and friends. By the time I was in highschool, my mom had tired of the process so much that we stopped going to the professionals and started using whatever decent photo of the four of us that had been taken in the course of that year. Little did I realize what I was in for. And I've only got one!

So, this morning was spent trying to figure out a picture for a Christmas card. I had this cute idea that involved bundling up and going outside, taking a picture that implied that we were "waiting for snow." But, the rainy, dreary day didn't really cooperate with me. So, changing lanes completely, this is what we came up with:

Cute, right?


The problem is this: I hate posed photographs. Something about them just doesn't capture the essence of me or my family. Something about it says, "Haha...we have it together and got our our picture earlier than you. Aren't we cute?" I know, I know. I'm being ridiculous. I just wish that I could make a Christmas card of some of these pictures instead:

A little more true to life, I think.

All I know for sure right now is that none of these pictures are what you will see on your Christmas card from us. I just need a compromise...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jessi and Sunda's Florida Trip

"Ummm... could someone get me some milk? And put one of those little umbrellas in it!"

Sunda and I spent Halloween at my mom's house in Florida. What an absolutely WONDERFUL time. I can't tell you what a blessing it was to be with "the fam." My stepdad Riki, my sister Jayne, my brother Henry, and of course, my mom. You don't realize how much you're missing until you get with the people who know you better than anyone. Since Jake, Sunda, and I have returned home from Zambia, there has been tons of the love and attention focused on my lovely daughter (which has been a good thing!)But I have to admit, that as a new and semi-immature mom, it was so good to get pampered by MY mom. This probably feels good at any age!

Sunda had an absolute blast with "Gamma Masha" (Gramma Marsha). They were fast friends by the end of week, with my mom even taking over the bedtime routine one night so that I could kick Henry and Jayne's butts in Monopoly (Yeah right).

Some of our experiences in Florida included going to Downtown Disney and Sea World. Sunda was absolutely overwhelmed with everything at Downtown Disney (this is not the park, but the free attraction that is outside the park) and by the time we got to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch had had enough of Disney's animation antics. When she caught sight of a motorized talking tree in the Rainforest Cafe I thought she was going to lose it. She kept looking over her shoulder to make sure it wasn't following her. She looked at me as if she was thinking, "Mom, this isn't right, and you know it." Poor thing. Even though she is VERY adapted and not afraid of too many things, I sometimes forget that she hasn't really been exposed to the magic of Disney or animated talking trees yet, so we'll take it slow.

Sea World was definitely the highlight of our trip, and Shamu took the cake in Sunda's book. The child that won't sit still for ANYTHING sat mesmerized on my mom's lap, with her mouth open, for the entire 40 minute show. Now, if I could only get Shamu to visit when I want to get dinner started...

There were so many other great things that Sunda got to do: Play in the freezing cold pool, go to the local "My Gym" for kids, go trick-or-treating, experience one of my mom's famous Halloween theme parties, and of course, bond with her family. I wouldn't have missed it for the world, and neither of us can wait to go back in December.

Amazingly enough, Sunda and I survived our solo plane trips just fine, with no potty accidents and little to no crying. You really feel like you've accomplished something when you travel alone with a child. It's a little bit of a mission to wield a stroller and a backpack and the passports and take off our shoes for security. But we made it! And I'm confident enough now to take her anywhere...we travel well together!

Sunda's Halloween costume. She's gorgeous and she knows it!

Because we're missing the Overland Crew...Love you guys!
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What a Beautiful Day...

It's gray and windy outside. It feels almost bitterly cold to me, meaning that it's probably not more than 40 degrees. It's only 5 o'clock, but the whole day has been so dim that it's practically dark already.

It makes me want to stay inside, with slippers on. Drink tea and eat potato soup. I want to be able to tell Sunda, "No, it's too cold to go outside...let's stay inside and read books."

I will be sick of this in approximately 2 weeks. I will be in tears about it by Christmas and will not want to get out of bed. I will be absolutely thrilled with the perfectly sunshiney, boiling hot weather by the time I get back to Zambia. But right's an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day.