Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Welcoming strangers into my home

For 16 weeks now, we have had a young refugee couple from Syria living with us. They have been married a little over a year and for the majority of that time have been separated from each other, since he made the journey to Austria alone and got everything in order so that she could come legally.

 Let me backtrack a bit and tell you how it all started. As the refugee crisis really started to explode here, facebook was buzzing with articles, videos, pictures, etc. of the situation. I read a lot. I saw a lot. I was moved. I was troubled. But what could I do? I had a three year old and one year old at home.

 ... I could teach some German. But when? 
... I could donate clothes and other items that were needed. But that didn't seem like enough.
... I could give money. But I wanted something more tangible. 

I would put my youngest to bed and during those days, she needed lots of TLC in order to get to sleep. I kept thinking about the refugees and how they didn't have a home. I kept hearing the verse from Matthew 25:40, '...as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.’ I thought of our new house. Our BIG new house {no, it's not huge, but we have more space than the 4 of us need}. I couldn't stop thinking, we need to help someone! We need to take someone (or two) into our home. We prayed about it and now here we are. 

There are definitely big culture differences between us, but we're enjoying learning about each other and how we each do life. We definitely have lots of laughs together trying to communicate with one another and it's not easy having awkward silences, because there's simply not much to talk about with our big language barrier. But we do have times of laughter, where something finally is understood. We can play games together {my wonderful husband is great with explaining games}. We teach them German and end up having a really good time together. We also shake our heads and wonder about the way they do things.

So here are some things we have learned during our time together thus far:

- sacrifice -
Our sacrifice of giving up our home doesn't even come close to the sacrifice they have made to be here in a safe country. They have given up everything to start a new life. They have to learn a new language, culture and find new jobs. They may never see their family members or certain family members ever again. So very sad! They live in the fear of not knowing who might die during the next attacks in Syria. A few weeks ago, they lost two cousins and it was a very close call for her sister and brother-in-law.

- profit -
We may have given up of all our private us time by having someone else in our home, but we have gained new friends. Friends that don't believe what we believe and therefore we have the terrific opportunity to live Christ out right before their very eyes. Sadly we do not always exemplify Christ as we should, but that's human and also needs to be seen. They are so thankful for our home, family and help.

- love -
They LOVE, Love, love children, especially ours! And our kids love them in return.
Our kids get kissed, snuggled, chased, and candy given to them.
They get youtube videos shown to them.
(still working on not too many videos being shown! like I said very different culture. But my oldest has learned to come to me and ask if she can, before they watch them. Well, she does this most of the time, but not always)
They are always welcome in their eyes. The other day I asked what he wanted to do for his birthday and he simply said kiss my youngest cheeks! :)

- diligence -
They are hard workers! She cooks every other day for us. We came up with a cooking routine so that everyone gets the food they are used to getting. Our meals are quite different from each others. Not bad, just different. They clean up the kitchen just about every night. We put kids to bed and come down to an almost spotless kitchen. They wash, dry AND put dishes away! {most days I just let things air dry and put it away the next day} I've definitely enjoyed this new normal for us! :)

- different countries can have very different diets -
 She is a vegetarian, so in my mind that means she eats lots of vegetables. This is only semi true! They don't eat veggie sides like we do. I've often made a meal with your typical three parts to it - meat, noodle/potato/rice and veggies - they don't eat veggies like that. We are the only ones at the table that eat them. They do eat a salad, but not boiled/steamed veggies. Very interesting!

- humor -
It is possible to have a good laugh despite a language barrier! We do not understand everything we want to say, but we do laugh a lot together. We often laugh that the men don't understand their wives, even with talking the same language and we the women know what the other one is trying to say.

- communication -
At first, it took some getting used to with trying to explain things - either using body language, google translate {which is DEFINITELY not reliable} and using simple words. At first for them, they would laugh at each other and how silly they would look, but now it's our normal and we just all laugh together trying to make things understood.

- cooking -
I always, always cook with a recipe. I'm definitely not someone who can make up a meal as I go. She very rarely uses a recipe. One day she watched a youtube video to make something a bit different, but generally she just knows what to put in. She uses a LOT more oil and salt than we do.  I keep having to refill the salt shaker that we use for cooking and the HUGE oil that takes us forever to go through has been replaced a few times!

- daily routines -
They are night owls and they rest/nap late in the afternoon. Some days my girls get up from their naps and they are going down for their rest. Now things have semi gotten more like our routine, since their German class is at 9 am and they have to get up for it. They don't eat three meals every day or not around the same times that we do. Sometimes their breakfast is our lunch and they have a rather hefty midnight snack!

- don't sweat the small stuff -
Everyone does things differently. You don't have to come from a different country for this to be the case. At first, I was a bit uptight when things weren't done in my new house the way I wanted them to be done...small things...esp in my new kitchen.  I'm learning to address some things, but let other things go.

But all in all, despite all the differences, we are all human, created in Gods image. With all the political debates, fears, and partially justified worries about crime and terror, we must not forget to see people individually. Politicians need to take care of the big picture, and we can pray that they are doing so wisely, but we are to treat everybody as our neighbor, and we are told to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fall Fun

Once again, way too much time has gone by and this poor little blog has left untouched for far too long. So embarrassing! I just don't feel like there's more to say. Life is busy with my two little ones. Evenings I'm tired and don't feel like writing and no idea what to write about.  

Here's just some random things that come to mind:

- we've been in our home for over a year now! Sunday was our one year anniversary. Crazy how fast a year has gone. And amazing how long this year has been.

- Our littlest one is slowly have more better nights than worse! Shocking, I know! So great. It doesn't mean that she is any easier during the day though. Oh well, wait, yes she semi is, but not always. She is still as stubborn as all get out and is not always a happy camper, but we are getting there!!{Cute story for tonight: I put her to bed and she waved and blew a kiss to her sister as a goodnight}

-  Our big girl is talking loads these days and it's so fun to hear what all she comes up with. She's very observant and so sweet with her little sister. She gets frustrated when she tries to do things alone and it doesn't work. Her frustration brings on tears. We're working on it. She loves Bible songs these days and requests to sing several every night. {Thanks, Grandmommy, for our new ritual!} :)

- Baking keeps our kitchen-living/dining room much warmer. So I do my part as often as I can in order to warm things up. lol

- Our fence came a little over a week ago. Finally things are feeling more done here!!

- I've been enjoying a series called Lessons for my Daughters this month. Pop on over to Lauren's blog and read for yourself.

- I made these recently and they are just sooo good. Definitely a recipe to save for fall.

- Bought this jacket a few weeks back and am LOVING it! I didn't need a jacket, but it had everything I was looking for in a jacket. So my wonderful husband was happy reluctant to say yes, but he finally did. I'm so glad he did, because it's so nice and warm and really is the best jacket!

Well, here's to more updates in the future! :)

Friday, June 26, 2015

NUK Magic Cup

Getting your little one to drink is not an easy task and switching from a bottle to sippy cups and then normal cups can be challenging. NUK has designed a new sippy cup. Finally a sippy cup that doesn't have little parts to wash! Check out what it's made out of: 
The cup has three parts. A silicone part (the pink one) and two plastic parts. 
Just pop the pink part into the turquoise ring and then screw it on the cup - DONE! Doesn't get much easier than that.
And it doesn't matter where your little one puts their mouth, they can drink from it from any side!
 It's a perfect fit for little hands. Although the tipping to actually drink is still a bit tricky and needs a little help from bigger hands, but once your little one is bigger this shouldn't be a problem anymore.
 They say it's leak proof, which for the most part it is, however after turning over like the picture above, there is a little bit of water, but not much. And when it gets tossed on the floor, then there is a little bit of a spill. But nothing too dramatic.
 I gave the cup to my 10 month old and for the first initial try, she didn't know how to drink from it, but then the next time, she had it mastered! :) I would definitely recommend this cup to other moms.

If you want to know about the cup, check here.

Disclosure: I received this cup from NUK to test in exchange for a review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Photos from here

Yes, she has developed a love for cHoCoLaTe and she asks for some after every meal! 
But no, she doesn't always get it. ;) 

 This little one LOVES standing any- and everywhere. She's been enjoying her big sister's kitchen these days! 

I love having them squeal, giggle and snuggle with each other! I'm so thankful they have each other.

Smoothie Season has started here!

This has been our life ... playing. Standing. Snuggling. Reading. Going out on walks.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

the little things

My day is filled with doing little things...

wiping noses
changing diapers
fixing hair
brushing teeth
doing dishes
straightening up books and toys that land everywhere
tying shoelaces
doing load upon load of laundry
folding said laundry
putting on hats
making sandwiches 
putting littles down for a nap
and on 
and on
and on.

Sometimes I get tired of the mundane.

I get tired of life right now being so .... regular ... every day seems so the same. I was talking to my sister the other day about it and I said, I wouldn't want to change it, but yet sometimes the mundane gets to me. I get restless. I feel like the hamster running round and round the wheel and it's always the same. {just different friends and playdates}

Today over breakfast while feeding the baby, I listened to a podcast {ahem, part of one}. And this really got to me:

Love well in the little things. With great love
Which is part of a very big thing - raising a family!

If I love well in the little things, I help my children become better human beings that can change their worlds later on! Raising a family is not a little thing, even if it does include so many little things right now. In the midst of the mundane, the little things, I am bringing up two sweet little girls (maybe more one day) that can one day do amazing things! What a privilege and honor that is! How dare I get bored with the little things. How dare I not do those little things well!

And so I continue with the little things. I continue to work on loving well. Being patient. Being gentle. Not always easy. Way too many times, I loose my cool and my precious little babies experience a selfish, tired, impatient mama.

How grateful I am that they are quick to forgive and love no matter what. It's been such a great reminder to me of how our Father is quick to forgive and loves us unconditionally! AND I've been reminded over and over again how great God's grace is! His grace that stops me from being even worse of a mom. His grace that allows me to be gentle, despite two whiny voices demanding I take care of them each right now. His grace that holds back harsh words that want to come out of my mouth and rebuke my sweet little toddler that just wants to help and be a part of what's going on. Thank you, LORD, for your grace! It amazes me!

Monday, March 16, 2015


We've been living in our wonderful new house for almost 5 months now! Crazy! At times, it still doesn't feel real and other times, it seems like our apartment life was FOREVER ago.

Our big wish and prayer for our house was that it would be a place where people would...
... feel at home ...
... be pointed to Christ ...
... be encouraged ... 
... feel loved and accepted ...

When I came across a study on Hospitality by She Reads Truth, I knew it was one I wanted to do. Felix and I love inviting people into our home, talking and playing games with them. I love cooking and baking. I was curious what would be shared in the study on Hospitality and so far I have not been disappointed. I may have only done three days so far, but I have already been pushed and given some thoughts to think on ... here are two quotes from it or inspired by the study that I wanted to share:

--- Isn’t that true hospitality? Putting yourself in their place, loving them for who they are, and inviting them into the safe place of friendship. ---

--- Learning to love someone by thinking about what they need.---

These things have me wonder how I often I have really love someone by thinking about what they need. And I'm talking about beyond needs like food, etc. How often do I love my little family by putting myself in their place? How many times have I put myself in my guests shoes and given them a safe place? 

My prayer and wish and hope is that this new home of ours will be just that people. I want everyone who enters through our door, to feel loved, cherished, and understood. I want to meet their needs and give them a time that will encourage them and make them feel loved! 

Lord, help our home to be a safe place for our guests. 
Help us make them feel loved. 
Give us discernment when we invite people into our homes.
May we put our needs below the needs of our guests. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Life in pictures

 Today was scone making morning to prepare for some guests coming over the next couple of days. Hope there are still some left for when they come, they are soo yummy! 
Z kept saying, Mommy, cookie, ahh. {guess someone else liked them, too!}

 On our way home from church. This little one was so tired, but she's not a big sleeper in the car, or if she does sleep, it's only for the last tiny bit!

 Z's moving out because of all the construction in our house :) lol ... that's what it looks like!
Felix decided to tackle the task of mounting the hand rail going up the stairs.

Love Saturday morning snuggles! Everyone is very invovled in the book that is being read.

Someone's working hard on the pre-crawling stage