Archive for the 'Humor' Category

At The Fruit Stand

(Jami originally posted this on her family blog, and it was just to funny and classic not to re-post. I thought many of you moms would likely relate to such circumstances! Thank you, Jami!)

When our family traveled all over the city for medical tests for our residency, I thought, “Great! I can have Ella weighed!” She’s been having a lot of difficulty eating, so we have had concerns about her growth. But at one clinic they said we had to take her to another clinic across town. And when we got there, the wait was HOURS long. We actually waited for a couple of hours because we needed a medical card to take to the tuberculosis clinic. But then they closed the doors at 5:00 and sent everyone home. All to say, I don’t know how anyone could actually wait it out at a clinic to have their baby weighed. So I took Ella to our local fruit stand. And Ella squiggled. And we don’t know exactly how much she weighs. But I don’t think she’s lost weight. And I think we’re not supposed to worry!

Do you have any similar stories about getting creative by necessity?


Flamingos in Alaska: Nesting Overseas

The whole idea of the “nesting instinct” is pretty funny to me. That classic example of “tearing out the rose bush” and re-doing the yard just before going into labor is pretty true to the intensity of that desire to get everything just right before the baby arrives, at least in my experience.  Our family just got home after being away on a visa trip for over 2 weeks and as soon as I walked in the door, the nesting began.  I usually take my time to get things settled after trips, but not this time. Those  loads of laundry needed to get done that night, even if it killed the washing machine! True story. The washing machine died a horrible screeching death the next day, BUT I have 7 loads of clean laundry to show for it (and no we didn’t bring 14 bags with us… our washing machine is just that miniature).

It is funny enough when you’re nesting in your familiar country and culture, but this time around (this is the first baby of ours to be born overseas) I feel a bit like a sun-loving pink flamingo trying to build a nest in the frigid wilderness of Alaska. Not that the “birds” here don’t build cozy nests as much as anywhere else in the world, but I find myself trying to build the same type of nest native to my species, but in this instance using some rather foreign twigs.

This nesting urge has manifested itself in some intense language study as I try to figure out the names of products that I hope to procure, a bit of furniture re-purposing while trying to determine where the baby will exactly fit in our 2 bedroom apartment, some work with fabric that I could hardly call sewing (since I can’t sew to save my life), some international shopping and shipping,  and even my first ever, horribly unsuccessful, very hilarious attempt at plumbing.

Like I mentioned earlier, thanks to the free diaper grant from Cotton Babies, we are giving cloth diapering a try this time. I have heard that a “diaper sprayer” is a treasure worth its weight in gold for cloth diapering moms, and having found a mini-shower/bidet fixture that looks like the exact same thing, I decided to buy it and install it myself. Who cares that the item itself was purchased in Finland to be used for a Russian toilet, or that I had no idea what fixtures it needed, or the fact that I have never heard the first thing about plumbing or home improvement… I was determined that this simple project of screwing a few hoses and fixtures in place would take an adept person like myself all of 15 minutes to successfully install. Four hours later, after googling “how to use teflon plumbing tape” and “plumbing for (female largely pregnant nesting) idiots,” I had succeeded only in soaking a large number of towels and causing our toilet to leak. “Hello?! I’m nesting here! Where’s my forward progress?!”

Well, the diaper sprayer might never get installed, and I will probably feel completely ill-prepared until my foreign “necessities”  make their snail-paced way here, mostly likely after the baby’s arrival, but the baby is coming in his or her own time one way or another, and I trust that God has given us every necessity necessary to welcome this little one into our foreign nest. Until then, I’ll probably keep on being that flamingo in Alaska, and we’ll see where I end up in the end.  It might be time though to learn from the local birds rather than trying to reinvent the nest.

I’d love to hear your stories about nesting overseas! Did you find yourself in any funny situations as you prepared to welcome your baby into a foreign land? What things did you find your self searching high and low for before his/her arrival?

(Post by: Ashley)

Are my kids really Americans?!

A few weeks ago, as a special treat, I made one of our two treasured boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese (all you health food folks, I know if you’re a true American you will have to admit that you honestly like the stuff too). I thought the kids were going to love me for it (they had it on furlough and I thought they liked it) and that my husband and I would have to fight them to get a bite. Oh, was I ever wrong. They cringed at the first glimpse of the orange fare. They scowled and nearly trembled in fear….

“Mommy, what IS that?!”

“It’s macaroni!”

“THAT’S not macaroni! Yuck!”

“Taste it. You’ll like it!”


Finally we got both of them to take a bite. (Imagine, practically force-feeding your child Kraft macaroni and cheese? What kind of parents are we?!) Smiles all around? DEFINITELY not! There was gagging, and spitting, and probably some near crying…. and a lot of laughing on the part of myself and my husband. And then the reality sunk in. “Our kids aren’t American! Ah!”

Fast forward a couple of weeks. I decide to make box #2, mostly to satisfy my pregnancy craving for this delectable plastic cuisine, but also to see how the kids would react this time. The box came out, and instantly I saw the look of fear. “Mommy! Are we having THAT for dinner?! No!!!” I made them some buckwheat and other things instead. Buckwheat is a Russian staple and is probably one of very few Russian foods that I actually don’t enjoy. (The smell of the stuff reminds me of puking my guts out while having food poisoning at a conference. The cafeteria there smelled permanently of buckwheat, thus the association. )

And the kids’ reaction?

“Oh mommy! You made us grechka (buckwheat)!! Ohhh, I loooooove grechka! Can we have this for lunch tomorrow? Can we have it for dinner tomorrow too? Yummy!”

… and a little further prodding on my part to see if the contrast was as real as I thought, “Do you guys want some macaroni and cheese too?”

“Noooo! Mommy, please no! I don’t like mac n’ cheese! Do we HAVE to eat it?!”

Of course I didn’t force them and my husband and I gladly and rapidly finished off the box ourselves, again laughing hysterically about the reality that this represents.

My question to you today is, are your kids “Americans?” Have you had any funny moments where you’ve questioned the fact? Please share!

(Post by: Ashley)

So, what’s the food like?

Snail casserole

This post is purely for “dessert,” if you will. I was thinking recently of that famous question that gets asked to all missionaries on home assignment. Is it, “What’s ministry like?” or perhaps, “What’s God been teaching you through your experiences there?” or “How many people have you seen coming to Christ recently?” No, though of course those are also on the top of the list, the one I’m thinking of is one that you know quite well… “So, what’s the food like?!” Although it doesn’t get quite to the heart of our reasons for being where we are, you’ll have to admit, it’s an interesting topic! If we were all to get together over coffee some day, I am pretty sure in the midst of all of our chat about kids and cross-cultural life, we’d exchange a few stories about the crazy things that we’ve eaten in the places that we serve.

So, without further ado, what’s the food like where you live? Please share your favorite and least favorite dishes and perhaps the strangest thing you’ve yet to encounter! If you are currently in the US, please share from past experiences overseas or the most adventurous thing you’ve tried state-side!


golden arches

There comes a time in the life of many missionaries when they reach a new point of missionary, ummmmm….. maturity. This milestone is commonly referred to as the “McDonald’s craving.” Having grown up in America, McDonalds was likely appreciated for its convenience, if at all, though rarely heralded for its gourmet cuisine. If you are like me, you were happy to go without a Big Mac for years on end, not thinking a thing about it. Then it happens. You’ve been on the field for a certain amount of time, suddenly you see a flash of the golden arches and you are quickly overtaken by a wave of craving. Perhaps you saw an actual McDonald’s “restaurant” on your way to church, and as the pastor is preaching a passionate sermon on how to love the lost, all you can think about is how good it would taste to bite into a big juicy burger. You’re a missionary, but your thoughts have wandered far from eternal things and are fixed firmly on your insatiable appetite for low-grade ground beef, artificial plastic-like cheese, nutrient-free wheat buns, and condiments galore. All missionaries reach this momentous milestone at different paces. Please, don’t feel bad about yourself if you are slower at reaching this milestone than your missionary peers. This too will come with time.

Ok, so can you relate with me on this one?! I had the BIGGEST McDonalds craving today! Thankfully I was “lovin’ it” as I sank my teeth into a nice “McFresh Cheeseburger” after church. Do they have those where you are? Basically a double cheeseburger but they added cucumbers. Wasn’t sure if it was just a Russia thing. (And yes, that church “example” wasn’t too far from the truth.)

Moving+Tiredness+Foreign Language=Fun

Well, soon enough I will be back with an actual post. This experience of figuring out how to move everything across the country on short notice while trying to prepare for furlough and say all of our goodbyes has provided some great material for future posts! Thank you to those of you who have prayed for us. The whole experience has gone quite well considering all that has needed to be done. God really has been our strength!

I don’t have time for a usual post, but I had to share with you perhaps my best language blooper of the year.

The other day I went to one of the big supermarkets to ask for boxes. I went up to one of the worker ladies to explain what I needed, which really was a pretty simple request, yet she was absolutely confused. I meant simply to ask her for boxes for moving, but in my tired state of mind I inserted the word “bed” every time I meant to say “box.” The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hello, I was wondering if you gave away free beds for moving?

Lady: I’m sorry, what do you want again?

Me: Beds, you know, for moving. We’re moving across Russia and we need some large beds for storing our things.

Lady: (Seeing that I have my son with me) Do you mean baby beds? For travel?

Me: No! BEDS, like those ones over there (pointing to the cardboard boxes under a display of lawn chairs.)

Lady: (looking exceptionally confused, thinking I meant lawn chairs) Where are you from?

Me: The U.S.

Lady: (Trying to be helpful) Well, here in Russia we usually move our things in large bags.

Me: Well, what do you do if the things are fragile?

Lady: Put them in suitcases, or boxes.

Me: (Finally realizing I had been saying bed the whole time instead of box) OH!! That’s what I meant to say! Was I saying “beds” this whole time? I meant “boxes!”

Lady: (Laughing, but very politely) Yes, and I was so confused because I had never heard of moving beds. Sorry, but no, we do not have boxes.

Ok, now I am off to do some more cleaning of our apartment and packing of our bags! We get on a plane to Seattle in a couple of days and once we are adjusted to life there, I’ll start posting more regularly. Take care!

Sweet Confused Multi-Lingual Children


One of my absolute favortie things about getting to serve overseas is the fact that my kids are getting the opportunity to learn a second language! It is so adorable to hear Russian words and phrases coming out of their little mouths. For today’s post and question, I thought we could share some of those cute stories!

Here are mine:

1)My daughter (3 and a half) loves the old cartoon version of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” except that the word “wardrobe” is a bit strange for her since we never use it. We do however use the Russian word for wardrobe (“shkoff”) all the time because we have several “shkoffs” in our home and it is just easier to say than “wardrobe.” Whenever my sweet daughter asks if she can watch her favorite movie, she says, “Mommy, can I watch “The Lion, The Witch, and the Shkoff?”

2)Also, my son (one and a half) has been responding to questions with “niet” rather than “no,” and prefers to say “paka” over “bye-bye.” He also often says “foo-ka-ka” instead of “yucky.”

3)My daughter LOVES to run up the old women in our community and shout “Babushka!” as she gives them a big hug. The “babushkas” here love it. I am just waiting for the time, though, where this happens in America on our furlough this summer! Should be hilarious!

4)We were eating “pelmeni” (traditional Russian dumplings) one day, and after finishing her bowl, my daughter exclaimed, “Look! I ate all of my pelicans!”

Ok, now it’s your turn! What is the cutest/funniest things your kids have said? Feel free to share even if it wasn’t in a foreign language!

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