Monday, June 13, 2011

It’s a zoo over here… oh wait, you already knew that…

Those of you who are Facebook fans (And if you're not, why not? Have you not realized that I thrive on acceptance & affirmation???) know that last week I posted that I was going to feed Roo his breakfast and then blog… but then I never did. I lied. Well, it wasn't so much a lie as it was wishful thinking. I actually had every intention of blogging, but it just didn't happen. Shortly after I posted that, I realized that I only had 2 days to plan 1 end-of-the-school-year celebration and 2 birthday parties, and suddenly errands jumped to the top of my to-do list. I'm sorry. But I'm here now, so can we be friends again? OK? OK. Whew, I don't know about you, but I feel much better.

So let me catch you all up on what's been happening at the zoo since my return from Mozambique. Roo staunchly refuses to say "Mama", despite Mr. Fantastic's self-proclaimed non-stop efforts while I was gone. He did, however, become quite proficient at "Dada", so you be the judge on what happened there.

He now has 4 teeth, and he can go from laying to sitting up all by himself.

He still isn't crawling, but he manages to wiggle, squirm, and launch himself just about anywhere he wants to go. He has suddenly decided that 5:45 is the PERFECT time to start the day, despite my adamant protests, but he is also going down to one FABULOUS nap—and if I'm lucky, I can get him to wait until after lunch for it—which has made life a lot easier during the day.

Lamb's last day of school was Thursday, so Monkey and I threw together a mini-celebration for her and our neighbor girls.

(We carpool with them, so it worked out perfectly. When their mom brought Lamb home, we had a little party set up for all three of them.) We baked chocolate chip cookies and made lemonade, and we set up a little snack table outside,

along with my oh-so-special banner

(It says "School is out!" if you can't see it) and some squirt guns, which the girls promptly ignored. But that's OK, because they still threw on their bathing suits and ran in the sprinkler. J It was nothing major, but it was a fun way to end the school year.

On Friday we celebrated Lamb's birthday with our family. She turned six while I was in Mozambique, which was quite hard on this mama, so we had to wait a little while for the parties. The cake was quite a fiasco. She originally requested a castle cake for her family party (something I made 2 years ago for her) and a Justin Bieber cake for her friend party (which was the next day). Well, I started on the castle cake, and it just completely fell apart. It was a total disaster. So at the very last minute, we went to a local bakery that makes unbelievably good cakes and requested a birthday cake for 20-25 people. Unfortunately, on one day's notice in the middle of graduation & wedding season… they couldn't accommodate us. BUT they had a single-layer round cake there that already had "Happy Birthday" on it, so we grabbed that and asked them to add her name to it.

Then I just whipped up a batch of strawberry cupcakes (since strawberry cake had been her original request) to help feed the masses.

You might think that buying a Justin Bieber cake would be relatively simple… but you'd be wrong. None of our local stores that sell "character" cakes carry a Justin Bieber one, so I was on my own. So I improvised—it's not exactly what I would call a fabulous cake, but Lamb was happy. J

So aside from the cake issues, the parties were both big successes. Lamb had tons of fun with her cousins & friends, and got completely spoiled. At her friend party, we made guitars…

…and danced & played games…

…but most of the time, the girls just wanted to play outside. (Note to self: Why waste time worrying about crafts & games, when all they want to do is swing? Next year, cake, presents, and swinging. Simplify.)

As for the post-Africa adjustment, it was much different than I expected. For the first few days after we were back, I was up SUPER early—typically around 4 AM—but felt pretty good. And then on Wednesday… Yikes! It hit me big-time, and I felt like I had been hit by a truck! Bad timing, too, since that was about the time I realized I needed to start getting everything ready for the weekend! But I managed to get through, and then on Sunday we played hooky from church my dear wonderful husband realized I needed a little extra sleep, so he got up bright & early with Roo and let me sleep in until 8 AM, which is fabulously late for me. And as an added bonus, I woke up to kisses from my big kids, who then led me downstairs to fresh waffles and "fruit chutney" (mangos & strawberries cut up with a little sugar on them—but Mr. Fantastic wanted to call them something fancy). We ate breakfast together, read books together, played together, and just enjoyed a nice, quiet family day. It was heavenly.

So now I finally feel like we're getting back to life as normal. It's a whole new normal, partly because Lamb is home for the summer and we're trying to figure out a new routine, and partly because I feel like I've been changed by my time in Mozambique. I'm excited to share more with you and have started on several posts. My plan right now is to post twice a week about the trip for a while… I'm not sure how long it will take me to share everything I feel like I learned… maybe it'll only take a week or two, maybe it'll last all summer. Either way, I hope you stick around for this new part of my journey, along with hearing about my past (I forgot to post the Family Forest installment last Wednesday—sorry about that), and of course the continuing stories of life with the three wild & crazy animals.

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