Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mo Mo in the Middle: One and Three-Quarters


Any day now our little Wonder Girl will no longer be our baby and will be promoted to Big Sister so I thought it would be great to finally write something since I clearly missed a one year, 1.25 and 1.5 year post on this sweet girl. Moriah Ann may very soon be in the middle, but not to worry, she's definitely middle like Oreo middle, or sandwich middle. She adds so much life to our lives, and we just can't get enough...


Moriah is a high energy girl who loves to chase and be chased, tickle and be tickled but also appreciates giving and receiving a good snuggle too. Her voice is loud and so is her ability to express exactly how she is feeling. Mo Mo is a babbler for sure and mainly walks around jibber jabbering at this point.  When she does use one of her words, it's usually prefaced by a little moaning-groaning "Ehhh". Some of her favorite first words are Mommy, Daddy, Sissy, NO, Where'd Go?, Cut-a-cu-tu (cous cous), puppy, key-ca (kitty), meow, woo-woo (barking), nana (pasta), go-go (yogurt), cookie, poo, kay (ok), star, wa-wa, and tootsie (thank you Daddy for giving her way too many tootsie rolls...not sure what we will do when we run out of our bag from America!). 
While she definitely makes a lot of noise she also does this hilarious whispering routine and sometimes mouths what seems like a whole story silently but with all the expression in the world on her face. Case in point: 


Our brave, adventurous girl loves to be outside in the mud and puddles and was a pro this summer on the playgrounds in Portugal. She climbed the slides like gang busters and even started running down one of them before she realized that was not such a good idea! Recently she has become super sensitive to anything on her hands that shouldn't be there like lint, mud, banana. This is proving to be quite the challenge given her conflicting desire to be into any and everything!
Moriah is very social and goes to others quite easily. She'd much rather spend the day out than in and everyone knows her name at our market. If her feet touch the ground when we get home, she heads straight to the neighbor's gate until she's greeted with a warm hello and plenty of candy. 


Puppies, Minnie Mouse, dancing her heart out, eating constantly, getting worked over by daddy, running away from anyone trying to dress her, playing the role of little sister exceptionally well (tickling, mimicking, chasing, biting, pinching all included), and demanding oranges from the garden,  are Moriah's current specialties. 
Reading books is also a favorite past time for Moey. Minerva Louise the Mixed-Up Hen and anything with a puppy in it seem to be her go-tos, and she also declares emphatically that every prince and princess she sees in the pages is Mommy and Daddy. 
Our little shorty in stature remains a wonder to us in all of her ways. Moriah Ann, we are beyond grateful for the place God has given you in the middle... smack-dab in the middle of our hearts.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Day Off

Time is passing so quickly that I just know I'm going to wake up one day, and the days of life with little ones will be gone. It's all so very cliche, but I have a strong sense in my heart that these days are sweet, though they are full of what I perceive as chaos and much dying to self. They are worthy of pausing to write down little things like the time we took our day off to head to the zoo on a perfectly sunny, North African day in February.

Dan assured me that it's not the look on his face that's important but the feelings he has on the inside ;) ...


Our little blondie insisted on being held or strolled most of the time, but she couldn't  resist the opportunity to get as close to Aslan as possible. I guess it's a good thing she dressed up for the occasion by stealing her sister's new bows from Auntie Nita and Uncle Adrian...


Other highlights for Felicity were seeing the evil Shere Khan behind bars and feeding the reindeer parsley she got from a friendly zoo-going family. 


Moriah was a perfectly content little kangaroo and loved jibber jabbering with the piglets. My favorite was seeing the pretty pink flamingos up close with their incredibly long necks. 


We marveled at what in the world this creature could be and waited for quite some time for the kids who were running around in it's enclosure to get out of the way so we could take a picture. I'm pretty sure Dan will make fun of me for saying enclosure instead of cage just as he couldn't accept my bleeding heart for the lack of space for some of the animals to run around...it's the American in me, what can I say?


We had to have some serious conversations with Felicity about how jumping fences at a zoo and throwing baguette at every animal is really not a good idea even though it seems everyone is doing it. And it was no surprise that we were asked if Moriah could be in pictures with strangers as they kissed her a million times and declared God's protection over her. 

Felicity was happy to have her sister take the attention away from her so she could eat her 25 cent cotton candy in peace. She surprised us all by choosing blue instead of pink. 



On most days, we are still very much working out our lives as an expat family living in North Africa, but every once in awhile, we have a day that feels kind of "normal". Our Sunday afternoon at the zoo was quite lovely and just what we needed in this wonderful season of crazy. 




Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Welcome Little Wonder: The Doula

To be frank, we could not have done it without her:



Cheryl, we are forever grateful for everything you did for us throughout pregnancy, the delivery and the aftermath of Moriah's birth. There are not enough words to convey thanks for the gift that you have been and continue to be to our family.

For all of these things and everything we don't mention or that we didn't see, Thank You.


Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you A Portrait of an African Doula:

From the very beginning, Cheryl walked this journey with us giving us the courage to take each step forward. Her language ability, medical experience and motherly touch carried us.

She endured waiting with me at the doctor's office for 2-4 hours at a time. We experienced surprises at each and every appointment including but not limited to: our initial surprise that Dan would be in the men's waiting room and we would be in the women's, a yelling fight between the receptionists and a patient, shock upon hearing that "no man has ever been in the delivery room", the look on the doctor's face as we explained the concept of a gender reveal party and why we only wanted Cheryl to know the sex, waiting for 4.5 hours when we actually made an appointment, and showing up another time without an appointment, being written in as number five on the list, and getting in almost immediately...
Always just a phone call away, she answered so many questions I had and eased my fears with her knowledge and care. She brought along her tools whenever we were going to be together and checked my blood pressure (only done once at the dr.) and the baby's heartbeat which I would not have been able to hear otherwise.
She waited with us. For at least three weeks she went to bed with her phone beside her ready for our call. She delayed going to the capital to be here with us.
On the day of Moriah's birth, Cheryl did all of the things I expected and more. She helped dress me for the hospital and let me lean into her for contractions in-between. She told me it was time to go and encouraged me that I could do it when I was sure it was impossible.
When we got to the hospital they said I should go in alone. I was terrified, but she insisted that she would not be leaving me at all. They let her in. The doctor was insisting I get an epidural. She made sure I did not. He insisted I get a shot to completely knock me out for the afterbirth and stitching. She did not let it happen. When everyone was told to leave the room, and I fainted two times, she came running in when I was finally able to call out her name. She also took a few bites of my hospital post-birth meal of fish. I do not generally care for fish so I particularly didn't want it after giving birth. No shame on me, Cheryl came through!

We drove home with Moriah the same day she was born. Cheryl rode right along with us and stayed the night in Moriah's room so I could get some rest in-between feedings.
More than just the medical side, she added so much celebration, fun and good food to our last year. She made a delicious gender reveal cake and kept the secret long enough for us to be surprised. She cooked for our gatherings, letting me rest for the last few weeks of pregnancy, and after being with us all through the birth, she was at our house that night cooking us dinner. We were truly spoiled and so loved by this woman.


For real, her love lives on even though she is now on the other side of the ocean. We will hold it forever!
We love you Cheryl!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Our Little Wonder: 11 Months

How is it possible that Moriah is already eleven months?!? Today I realized it's a leap year so that means we get an extra day with this little one before she is one... 


One thing is for sure, Moey is on the move! She's crawling, cruising, bouncing to the beat, and splish splashing.


This month she lost a little bit of her Mad-Mo and showed a bit of a snuggly cuddly side. She loves to snuggle especially after just waking up as well as with her purple teddy bear and Felicity's moose and white teddy bear. If we say "Moey, Ni-Night" she grabs the closest soft object and puts her little head down on it to cuddle up. 


She's becoming quite fond of Felicity and loves to join the fun whenever big sister is dancing or shouting. One time she even cried when Felicity left the room. She also loves baths and food. If the water is running and her clothes are on, she will let you know that she wants in that tub! Yells also come if she notices everyone else is eating something different than her. She simply will not stand for it! 


Moey's play time is becoming a little more varied. She spends minutes upon minutes playing with little spoons putting them in and out of little play cups and into her mouth. She's also the Queen of emptying everything...wipes, drawers, ziplock containers, the washing machine, Felicity's nightstand...sometimes the mess is worth the trade off of being able to get something done!

Moriah finally got her fourth top tooth and is figuring out how this whole mouthful of teeth thing works. She has bit her little lip on more than one occasion and fallen in ways to make her mouth bleed at least three times. Grinding her little teeth is also something she has taken to in her discovery process. Eek!

These days Moriah is still known to wake up in the night around 2:30 and 4:00 a.m. but goes back to bed relatively quickly. She did tease us by sleeping a few times straight through until 6 a.m. She's down to two naps a day and still loves her mommy more than anything else in the world. I think she thinks I'm her personal jungle gym.