Monday, August 30, 2010

Cultural Moments, Everyday Edition

Just for fun tonight, I thought I'd post a few of the cultural "moments" that we frequently experience. Several of these are things that happen regularly, often, practically on an everyday basis, so much so that we've gotten used to them and hardly notice them anymore. But in the interest of you, dear reader, who may have no idea what it might be like to live here, I present this brief list for your enjoyment. Hope you get a chuckle or two!

* When we go out on our bikes (all five of us on two bikes), the most frequent comment I hear is wa, hai you yi ge! (One more!) This is because most of them see John ride by first, with Christin on his back and Chloe in the bike seat, and then I ride by with Clara Anne on my bike seat, and so that's the comment I hear. Second in the running: san ge! (Three!) or, san bao tai! (Triplets!) They all think that we MUST have triplets since here you're only allowed one birth, so of COURSE the girls must be triplets, never mind their difference in height and maturity!

* Another frequent comment we get is wondering about the authenticity of the girls' blonde hair. Zhen de ma? they say as they finger the fine, soft, golden locks. I assure them, yes, it's real hair!

* I am no longer surprised to see a child peeing in public, anywhere. A puddle on the sidewalk or even in the restaurant on a day when there is no rain is immediately suspect. No stomping through puddles here, for obvious reasons!

* Cigarette smoking is everywhere. Rare is the place that forbids it. It's not uncommon to see people riding their bikes and smoking at the same time. Also, my least favorite...stepping into an elevator where someone is smoking. Blah!

* Fruits and vegetables are still relatively cheap. My helper and I were talking the other day about how the prices have increased dramatically in the almost seven years that we've lived here, but still...watermelon for 12 cents a pound? And that's expensive? You've got to be kidding me! Cucumbers for 30 cents a pound? Apples for 20 cents a pound? I'll take it!

* Because the food here is usually stirfried in oil, the oil aisle in the supermarket is extremely comprehensive. And because oil is such a key ingredient, it is only for sale in these HUGE bottles (I think they're about 2 gallons). I have never seen so many choices of different types of oil anywhere else! Peanut oil is the preferred favorite but there's also a dizzying array of others.

* I just noticed this again this weekend. The cultural mentality here is NOT to buy in bulk. In America, we LOVE to buy in bulk. It's usually cheaper, you can shop less often, etc etc. But here, bulk is not cheaper or as convenient. Why? Because not very many people have cars to get everything home! If you have to ride the bus or walk or take your bike, you cannot be loaded down with huge packages of everything. We have found again and again that the 2 liter bottle of juice, for example, is actually just a bit more expensive than buying 2 one-liter bottles of juice. Crazy, but true.

* Living in a city of 6 million people (that number includes the outlying areas) is sometimes a challenge to my people-density tolerance. On Sunday we rode our bikes to a flower and pet market. The streets were packed. We could only inch forward on our bikes, bit by bit, and the girls found themselves touched and petted almost as much as the adorable baby puppies for sale up and down the street! But, it hardly bothered me. I didn't even notice until as we were almost leaving, "Wow, to someone else at this moment, they would feel really crowded in. I can hardly move my bike forward!" Though I'll always truly appreciate wide open spaces, I am getting used to the fact that there are just a ton of people that all live really close to me. Personal space is almost non-existent, and no one expects it since they are also used to having a ton of people that all live really close to them. It's interesting.

* The sky is its own cultural moment. Yes, in the past, the weather/pollution/smog has been an issue that has taken some getting used to. The sky is not blue where we live, it is usually white with smog. If the sky happens to be blue for a particular moment of a particular day, we look up with thankfulness and appreciation. But most of the time, the sky is white. My girls only know the meaning of the "sky blue" crayon because of being in America this spring, where we commented every day on the beautiful sky. If you are in a place where you can appreciate the beauty of nature, don't take it for granted! Natural beauty is a precious gift of God!

Hope you enjoyed this vicarious trip through some cultural moments that we face everyday!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reflections on the Countryside

Last week John and I had the opportunity to visit some friends in the countryside and lead a marriage retreat. I was a bit nervous about this trip for a few reasons: I'd never traveled to the countryside of this country before. We are certainly not living in rural Iowa, with picture-pretty farms, fields of green, blue skies, and neatly kept farmyards. So I wasn't sure what to expect, but prepared myself for the worst: bugs, no a/c, sleeping on the floor, a "bathroom" outside, and perhaps the same vegetables stir-fried for every meal. I was also a little nervous because we were leaving our girls with our house helper, Lou, for the three days we'd be gone. I wasn't concerned about her, mostly just worried that the girls would be naughty and she'd be dead tired and at the end of her rope. But they love Lou so I wasn't worried about that part! Just look. . . But here's how things really went:
1. We stayed in a very clean, relatively comfortable place, home to one of the couples at the retreat. It was a three-story structure, John and I were given our own bedroom AND clean, indoor bathroom! I was so relieved when I saw the clean, western toilet with working flush and even a roll of toilet paper next to it! Silly to be so thankful over such a small thing, but still...!

2. The sleeping arrangements were great. Yes, the bed was hard as a board and about as wide as a glorified single bed, with a "crunchy" pillow made of seeds, but I slept great and was so thankful to have a room with John--the rest of the people had one big sleeping room for the men, one for the women, sleeping on pads on the floor. Honestly, that would have been fine too but it was nice to have a room to ourselves. I'm so glad we "stepped out" to do this retreat away from our home. There is something really bonding and special about living together for a few days.

3. Our hosts treated us with amazing hospitality. The wife cooked for ALL of us, EVERY meal, and it was all super fresh--corn on the cob from their garden, tomatoes they raised, boiled eggs for breakfast from their chickens, freshly made steamed bread and steamed stuffed bread, cucumbers from their plants, the list goes on. I ate way more than I planned to because they kept ladling more and more food into my bowl! We loved it, and loved them.

4. I was so surprised that every person attending took a shower every night. Knowing the country I live in, and the fact that sometimes people wear the same thing for a week, I had only brought the pants I was wearing and only one change of shirt. And, being unsure of the bathroom situation, I wasn't even planning to shower if I could get by with it. But they all showered every night! I came home and asked Lou about it and she said in the summer, with no a/c, you have to take frequent showers--in the countryside, they're used to sweating but then they shower at night so as to be clean for the next day.

5. I learned a lot of new words, that's what comes of speaking the local language the entire day every day! But I didn't write them down and now I fear they are lost forever . . . unless somehow I recognize them when someone else uses them and then I can remember and work them into my new vocabulary. Language learning, it never stops, I tell you!

So, all in all, we had a truly wonderful, blessed time. It was a joy to be there and to meet these precious people. Though we were up every morning about 5:30 and awake and talking or teaching late into the night, I never felt tired while we were there, PTL! It did hit me after we got home, but I'm recovering now. I'm really thankful for the opportunity and look forward to perhaps visiting this couple in their countryside home again.

And the girls? Well, Lou kept a careful record because she knew there were rewards on the way if the girls did well, and punishments if they didn't, and on the whole they did VERY well. She has learned a thing or two about child training from being around our family, and wasn't afraid to be the authority in our place while we were gone. There were a few very minor kerfuffles, but nothing major, and amazingly, Christin had absolutely no trouble with the potty while we were gone! In fact, I can't remember the last time she had an accident! She's been dry day and night for at least two weeks now. The other girls did fine too and so to their great delight received TEN POINTS for good behavior after we came home. (The points can be accumulated and used for various rewards.)

So we had a good week (left last Monday and came home Thursday morning) but I'm so glad to be home again. We did very little home schooling last week (obviously) but now I'm ready to jump back into it again tomorrow. Thanks to all who were "thinking" about this retreat for us. It went so well and we are thankful for the opportunity, and hopeful for the impact. We felt the Lord doing great things during our time, all glory to Him!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bike Ride Conversations

Many of you know that riding bike is our main form of transportation. It didn't used to be, when I spent five years being perpetually pregnant or nursing I didn't have the energy (or the balance) to think of gallivanting around our city of 3 million on two wheels powered by my own determination. But about 6 or 8 months after Christin was born, I got a new bike. It was outfitted with a seat on the back for a child to sit on, and so we began to take bike rides as a family more frequently. At first I rode it only on those occasions, but as time has gone on, I've gotten more and more comfortable with longer trips, and now LOVE to use my bike as transportation.

Bike riding has many benefits: exercise--on the days I know I will have a longer ride I count that as my exercise for the day!, convenience (no need to find a taxi), the freedom to go exactly when you want and go home exactly when you want, and even stop places along the way! Also, many times, because of the ever-increasing traffic congestion in our city, riding a bike is actually faster than taking a taxi, simply because on a bike you can sail through the lights and even thread your way through stopped traffic in a way that a car cannot. If all five of us are going out, John straps Christin on his back with the Ergo, then has Chloe in his bike seat, and I take Clara Anne in my bike seat. There are no drivers to hassle with, no fees to pay, and we usually even have great conversations on the way! We have now perfected the art of conversing through traffic--John has to stop in the middle of a sentence to quickly zip around someone, or slow down for someone else--and without missing a beat the conversation resumes as we find a place near the other again.

So I love all of this about biking. Right now I am also regularly taking Clara Anne to ballet class on my bike, which means that we have some extra time together on the way there and home. We often have interesting conversations on the way. She often carries an umbrella as protection from the sun, and I am usually breathing hard and sweating, but we still manage to converse.

Last night, however, it was raining as our family set off on our bikes to Dairy Queen. (Yes, DQ! That's another story!) So, in addition to the usual traffic and physical challenges of biking I was also biking with one hand, my right, as my left held a large umbrella. Unfortunately the rain was coming down quite hard and with some wind mixed in so I was getting pretty wet anyway, but that didn't stop Clara Anne from verbally processing some of the things she was seeing and thinking about.

Two particular topics that stand out in my mind from last night. . . on the way there we saw some men with their pants rolled up to their knees and their shirts off, out in the rain. Clara Anne was shocked. "Mommy! Those men are not being modest! Oh dear, they have their shirts off!" This led to a discussion of modesty where I explained that men's chests were not as private as women's chests, and that sometimes men took their shirts off in the presence of others, but that Daddy still wouldn't do that unless we were at a swimming pool. Otherwise Daddy would keep his shirt on, even if it was soaked to the skin!

On the way home (also in the heavy rain!), we began to have a conversation about economics. I had mentioned that I was sure the DQ employees were glad to see us since we were good for their business. She wasn't sure what that meant but then as I explained more about how business works, how the businesses have to make money to pay for their costs, so their employees could eat and pay their bills, etc, and all of these concepts seemed to be totally new to her. Clara Anne seemed most concerned that businesses would make money and not give any to poor people. Perhaps she was struggling with the thought that some people have more money than others? These are good thoughts to be thinking about; I think we'll have to have a more in-depth discussion about money sometime soon.

All of this was happening as I held my umbrella with one hand, steered my bike with the other hand, went in and out of traffic and up and down a few hills, and we finally wrapped it up as we entered the gates of our apartment complex. We were all pretty much soaking wet when we got home, but so thankful for clean jammies, a dry house, and a comfortable bed to fall into as we got there.

So, for now, the bikes continue to be a wonderful mode of transportation for our whole family. And as an unexpected bonus: a great place for conversation, too!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Christin's Prayer

We've been enjoying a few quieter days around the Wind house this week, a much-needed break after recent weeks of craziness. I've been happy to do a little more home schooling, a little more reading, a little more exercise--some of those basics of life that can get pushed to the back burner when we are just trying to "get by." My girls are enjoying the relaxed pace too--we've all had some refreshing naps this week, followed by lots of reading aloud. If all home schooling consisted of was reading aloud, I'd be a happy mama! Thankfully I can structure our time so that reading aloud is a major component of our days (we read through an entire Beatrix Potter anthology this week-- about 10 stories!) but I do still need to teach math and phonics/English too. We've started reading The Little Princess in our family reading time which the girls are loving. I'm tempted to read ahead! I'm going to try to be self-controlled though!

In the evening after read-aloud time we usually sing a few songs together and have some prayer time, then read a portion of the Bible and work on our memory verses. John always gives the girls an opportunity to pray, and Christin loves to participate. She starts loud and gets louder and louder, praying out in a bold voice! Sometimes (usually) she runs out of things to say and then starts repeating herself over and over and we have to prompt her to say Amen, but it is still really special. Tonight Christin's prayer was so dear, I just have to record it here:

"Dear GOD, Sank you dis day, aMERica, an' KO-Ee (Chloe), an' sing songs, an' sank you Mama, Daddy, Clara, Chloe, an' Chrissy, an' help us bey (obey), an' Chloe's knee med'cine, an' help me sit the potty seat, and GOD, sank you dis day, aMERica, an'. . . (repeated several times until John prompted her) in Jesus' name, Amen.

We opened our eyes, trying not to smile, to see Christin's earnestly pleased expression. I'm not sure what America had to do with anything, but she's been praying about it for numerous days now; it's always the second thing she says after "thank you for this day." It's sweet to see her efforts! Love that girl!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Diary of a Friendship, part 3

[This is part 3 in a series. You can find part 1 and 2 in the July 2010 archives, sorry I'm not savvy enough to know how to link them here!]

Having Josh and Rachel, and their daughters Emma and Samantha (almost both exactly the age of our girls!) with us in our city was like a dream come true. We knew we had really been missing the fellowship and encouragement that comes from having colleagues, but we didn't even realize how much until these dear friends moved here. I think the biggest change for me was the relief that came from having someone who knew me. Not just knew me as a language student or a foreigner, but knew who we were, why we were here, what we were trying to accomplish, and were also striving for the same things! What a joy that was!

Early on in their time in our city, we were invited to celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival with some friends. I think this was around September of 2006. The meal that night was held at a restaurant on the property of the lake that sits right in the center of our city. It was truly the only meal in this country that I can remember not being able to eat a thing that was ordered. I like the food here, I really do, but sometimes at banquets or special occasions the hosts order all this weird crazy stuff as an attempt to impress the guests. Lots of strange sea creatures, bugs, etc were on the menu that night. Plain old vegetables and meat were nowhere to be found! We didn't let it stop us from taking a picture though! (the first one below). I do remember being so thankful that Rachel and I both had to nurse our babies mid-meal so we were able to avoid pretending to eat too much. And John is always willing to eat anything, so his eating made up for my lack of eating! We took a little retreat in October of 2006 to a nearby city where there is a famous mountain, and thought it would be interesting to climb the mountain together. Actually the climbing is not climbing, it's steps. Thousands and thousands of steps. At that point, with babies and toddlers in tow, we opted for the cable car! After the cable car there were still plenty of steps to climb! A funny memory from that trip is that numerous--not just one, numerous--people asked me upon going up the mountain if the baby we were carrying was real. They thought she looked so much like a doll that perhaps it was possible that we were carrying a doll all of that way! More about that trip in the October 2006 archives on this blog.
Getting ready to climb. . . and below there's a picture of us with our friend Robert, a native of the city with the famous mountain. He joined us for the hike and for some delicious hot-pot afterwards. Notice Clara Anne's curly hair (you can only see the back of her head)! I must have been holding Chloe as I took the picture.

By the time Thanksgiving rolled around in 2006, we were SO excited to have other Americans to celebrate the holiday together! Rachel had a fabulous oven which would fit more than an 8x8 pan (unlike my teeny tiny oven, which was faithful for me for several years), so we had Thanksgiving at her place. We divided up the food and figured out ways to make the various components to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal. All of you who have lived overseas at some point can relate to the special-ness of having real American food. There's just something about pulling out all the stops, buying that expensive can of imported cranberry sauce, dipping into your stash of pecans, using up your only can of cream of mushroom soup, trying to make an imitation of french fried onions since there are none to be found. . . all of those things make for a really wonderful celebration. How thankful I was to have friends to share it with! Here's Rachel and Samantha on that special day... (don't you love the bright yellow cabinets in her kitchen? :)

And here's the dessert table that day. Deliciousness! Chocolate pecan pie, chocolate chip cheesecake ball, apple cake with cream cheese icing, hello dollies, and a cherry crisp. Good thing it was an all-day event! This was only the beginning of holidays that we would celebrate together. The last one was on July 4th, 2010 as we had an outdoor picnic the day before Josh and Rachel left the country. What a blessing to have friends to celebrate with! We made lots of memories on those special occasions. We often put our kids to sleep so that the adults could stay up and play games or whatever; that worked relatively well for a long time and even as our kids grew older, we found ways to help them play well together so the adults could have time to talk. These times of fellowship were so life-giving for us. There was always lots of laughter, fun, and good things to eat but there was also unity of purpose, honest sharing, and many wonderful seasons of prayer. I feel so blessed with my unique friendship with Rachel, partially because of how our entire families got along and enjoyed spending time together. I can remember Josh and John having lots of "strategy" conversations and that solidarity was really helpful to John. Living in close community with these friends was truly a delight and joy to our hearts. Thank you, Lord!
I plan to finish this series next time with some "best of the best" photos from the last 3 years or so. Many of these occasions that I spent with Rachel I've already blogged about, (feel free to read through the archives! I'm just sorry I don't have them organized other than by date!) so at the risk of being redundant I plan to simply give you a glimpse in photos of a larger period of time. So, until next time!

Sunday, August 08, 2010


Ballet! It's the exciting news around our house; Clara Anne has begun ballet lessons! She has always enjoyed moving to music, but only in the last six months or so has she shown a particular interest in ballet. Initially my mom sent us a ballet DVD of Cinderella which the girls thought was fantastic--the Cinderella story set to music with dancing! What could be better? Then, we borrowed a book on the subject, then in the States we bought a few books and two more DVDs of professional ballets, and the girls were simply enamored. A regular event while staying in my parent's spacious home was to put music on the ipod and dance around the living room!

So when we returned to our city, I began to ask around to see if anyone knew about a place to study ballet. A friend found this place, and we came to visit one day during a downpour--what a memory! I would NEVER have found this place on my own. The teachers were willing to arrange for Clara Anne to start immediately. I asked numerous questions and thought that Clara Anne would be starting with others who also had no prior training, but either that was lost in translation or they conveniently overlooked my question, because on the first day of class it was evident that Clara Anne was in with some more experienced girls. But, the teacher was willing to work with Clara Anne, help her and explain things more thoroughly whereas the other girls knew which exercises to do by the music that was played. Remember this is all in a second language for Clara Anne, too!

All that to say, I am so proud of Clara Anne for hanging in there! We've had three weeks of class now (six classes, she goes on Weds and Fri), and though she was very stiff and un-flexible when she started, she is making improvements. Better still, she is working very hard. She stays focused during the class and does her very best. The other girls can do the exercises more easily and seem to catch on faster, but Clara Anne has not been deterred. On the second day after class, she said to me, "Mommy, ballet isn't as easy as I thought it was going to be!" But now she is seeming to relish the hard work. As the teacher asks her to make very slight adjustments to her position she is doing her best!

I shared with Clara Anne how learning to have a good attitude and work hard was the best thing I learned from all of my career in singing. I came a bit late to professional singing--by the time I began studying seriously, most of my peers were more experienced, knowledgeable, and had more years of study under their belts. I also didn't have as much natural talent as some; I had to work very hard. But my teachers kept reassuring me that natural talent could only take you so far, after that everyone has to simply be diligent and put in the time and effort. And for those who are unwilling to do so, well, they cannot continue to advance. As well, very late in my singing studies I learned the lesson of accepting criticism. In fact, I think that was a major lesson the Lord wanted me to learn through singing because I feel like it applies to all of life. And that is this: if I truly wanted to improve my singing, I should welcome any comments or criticisms that pointed out areas for improvement. There was no need for defensiveness or hurt feelings, I truly wanted to be better. So when I sang for a competition and the judges said, "I feel your English diction isn't crisp enough, your vowels are muddy" then I would go home and work on that. Once I was told I had a lot of tongue tension. I had never heard of such a thing but I certainly went back to my teacher and asked about it and worked on it!

The same principles apply spiritually. Am I humble and willing to accept correction, not only from the Lord, but from a friend who lovingly speaks to me for my good? Or even if the comment doesn't feel loving at the time? Can I admit that I have failings and seek to let Christ's power transform me? Or am I content to remain "where I am" in my spiritual life, not wanting to grow in Christlikeness or attack the sin which creeps in so easily? Too often I have reacted with anger or hurt feelings when corrected by the Lord or others. I make excuses for my lack of growth in godliness. But that's not where I want to stay! Not truly, though it may take serious time and work and a humble spirit to let the Lord transform me.

So, though ballet is simply ballet, it's an opportunity for Clara Anne to learn some of these principles. I wanted to communicate these things to Clara Anne. Ballet is a very disciplined activity; it requires a very specific kind of muscular strength and training. So, I told Clara Anne, do your best and show an eagerness to improve, and that is all you need do. There is no standard of perfection, simply doing your best is what will help you to grow in discipline and ultimately, to enjoy the activity more and more. An attitude of diligence is honoring to the Lord!

Ok, enough about that! Let's see some pictures! The one below was taken on Clara Anne's first day. The young woman in the front (black shorts and white shirt) and the man helping Clara Anne find the right position are the two teachers. Only five students to two teachers. . . not bad! Practicing some arm movements. . . I've been so impressed and thankful for all the individual attention the teachers are showing Clara Anne. They seem to be very concerned with proper form, which can be tedious but is crucial.
Yes, and work on that sitting posture, Clara Anne! Ballet is going to be so good for Clara Anne physically. The teachers said she has a body that is made for it--very long legs and quite lean (though she is certainly not skinny). I'm not sure if they were flattering her or if they really meant it, but anyway she does seem to have her daddy's height!

Now let's watch an informal ballet at home! Clara Anne, Chloe, and Christin decided to put on a show. Below: introductions and Christin waving to the "audience" (John and I were sitting on the couch).

Clara Anne continuing the story and calling Christin back . . .
I'm not sure if Christin was the prince and Clara was the princess, or vice versa!

Then the story got lost in the sheer joy of dancing around the room to some lively music. "Look Mama, I'm up on my tips!" (Clara's name for dancing en pointe.)

Not to be outdone, Chloe strikes her own pose.

And here we have an interesting tableaux. Notice Chloe's straight leg and pointed toe! Clara Anne was trying to help Christin achieve the same effect but Christin kept giggling!

Aha, the tables are turned as Christin does a little helping of Clara Anne's legs. Point those toes, Clara Anne!

And another moment where everyone is doing something (relatively) interesting. . . (there tends to be quite a lot of simply running around with flailing arms!) Quite nice!
And, taking a final bow. Thank you for the show, girls! John and I laughed and laughed and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

I pray that ballet will be a means for Clara Anne to do something she loves and bring honor and glory to the Lord by her attitude, as well as learning important life lessons. As she grows in bodily grace, may she grow in a gracious spirit! May she grow into a beautiful young woman, inside and out, and have a lot of fun in the process! A final word from Clara Anne after class on Friday: "Mommy, may I practice with the music all morning tomorrow? I want to get really good at this exercise before class next week." Sure, Clara Anne! Let's dance!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Update from the Potty Seat

Here's my big girl! Day 3 of potty training is complete, and I am amazed and thankful at how well Christin is doing! It's almost miraculous! I knew we were off to a good start when the very first morning, after practicing pulling down and up her pants several times, Christin sat right down on the potty and peed, without any accidents first! She seemed to know just what to do. By the afternoon of the first day she was already initiating going to the potty herself when she felt the need and had even stopped asking for rewards as well.
She's stayed dry through all her naptimes and one of the two nighttimes, and today, when I tried to put a pull-up on her for her morning nap, she said, "Too tight Mama! All done diapers!" So, I let her stay in the training pants and put down a protective sheet on the bed, but it wasn't needed, sure enough, she stayed dry again. Wowza! Tonight she is also sleeping in her cotton training pants for the first time overnight, we'll see how it goes.

So today she was completely accident free. She even pooped in the potty this morning! She kept her panties dry all day, through both naps, and took herself to the potty without any reminders from me numerous times. (At other specific times I reminded her, just like I do with my other girls.) This is such a totally different experience than with my other two; I'm so thankful! Clara Anne was easy, but not THIS easy, and Chloe was anything but easy. I have a feeling that it's a bit easier for Christin because she's older (27 months as opposed to Clara Anne's 23 mos and Chloe's 22 mos) and because she's seen her sisters take themselves to the potty so many times. And of course it helps when your sister reads "Brown Bear, What do You See?" while you're sitting on the potty! :) Tonight Christin even prayed that God would help her "sit the potty seat." And He will!
But whatever the reason, I'm really thankful and relieved. I thought it might be a huge chore but it appears that we are almost . . . Done. (Dare I say it???!) We'll see how things go as we get more into normal life, take her out and about some, and put her in various situations where it's not as easy to go potty. Hopefully those transitions will come easily as well.
All I can say is, PTL! We have a busy weekend coming up and next week several extra events as well, so I am very grateful to have Christin doing so well. We'll hope that it lasts! I don't know why it wouldn't since we are now "All Done with diapers!"

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Christin's Big Day

Sweet Christin with Mommy on the Fourth of July. (Her mouth full of candy, I think!)
Well, the time has come.

For several months now, I've known that the time was coming to potty train Christin. "It's all right," I told myself. "We have to get settled again after coming back from the States." And that is certainly true. Potty training is not something you want to do when the child has had a lot of other types of transition to process.
Life has been stable now for a few weeks (BUSY--but stable), so that's no longer an issue. I was also thinking, "Well, when our friends from Clifton leave, then I'll be ready." And, time has slipped by so quickly, and our friends are leaving tomorrow morning! Couple this with the fact that there are only a few diapers left in my cupboard, and it's evident to me that the time has come to tackle this significant task.
So, tomorrow morning my dear friend Amy is keeping my other girls while I take Christin through the basics of potty training. We'll start like the other girls did--practicing pulling down and up the training pants. (May I remind you that these are the same training pants that Amy had shipped to me from the States in 2006?? Isn't that funny! The package she originally sent got marked--for some VERY strange reason--as a terrorist threat and returned to her, so she sent them twice! I still get a chuckle out of that one, pink cotton training pants a threat to national security! HA!) We'll have treats and stickers, lots of great beverages and salty snacks, and a whole day together without her sisters to undertake this important training.
Christin is quite verbal and seems to understand the whole concept pretty well; tonight she was chanting a little ditty about "I sit on the potty seat! I sit on the potty seat!" and so we shall see if her physical body can cooperate with the knowledge she has on this topic already. I showed her the training panties and she's so excited to be a big girl and wear them tomorrow morning!
This week has plenty of events scheduled, but I don't have to leave the house until Wednesday afternoon, so we'll have two solid days to get things going. Let's all hope and pray that she'll do well with the training! I do have some pull-ups on hand for sleeping times, but we'll be aiming for daytime dryness in these next few days/weeks. I'm ready for anything--Clara Anne trained so easily and relatively quickly; but Chloe's process was drawn out over an entire year (I'm not even kidding) before she was fully trained, day and night, accident free. So I have no expectations for Christin, we'll just wait and see how it goes.
On another note, it was SUCH a blessing to have our friends from Clifton here this week. I didn't get to spend such a lot of time with them, but we did have them here for a few meals and we so enjoyed our time together. We feel so encouraged! Thanks to all of you who sent gifts, cards and pictures along with them, we'll be enjoying those things for months to come! The girls went wild over the things that were just for them and are having such fun with the crafts and Polly Pockets already. We had a great final time together today; ate Santa Fe chicken salad with homemade chips and homemade salsa, and the Pioneer Woman's chocolate sheet cake for dessert with some great coffee to go with it. I love hosting people, can you tell? Doesn't that make a few of you out there want to come and visit?! :) You're welcome anytime!
Well, tomorrow is a big day. I'd better get some rest! Good night!