Monthly Archives: September 2013

It doesn’t get better than this!

In August we had the unique opportunity to dog sit puppy sit (trust me, there’s a big difference) for Pete and Brenda’s dog, Boga.  It’s not the time and place to go into detail about our puppy sitting experience, but one of the unexpected blessings was that Boga ate all of Max’s pacifiers and we chose not to buy any more, so Max consequently was suddenly cured of his paci addiction.  One way, however, that we were able to help with the transition was to have him sleep with Ella each night.  So, for nearly 6 weeks Max and Ella have been going to bed together and it has been wonderful for both of them.

Ella, like her dad, falls asleep on average after about 45 seconds of her head hitting the pillow. Max, like his mom, takes about 45 minutes to wind down.  Every so often Ella will help out if Max is having a hard time sleeping by reading him more books on her own, singing him songs on her own, or praying with him on her own. It has been quite awesome to observe.  It is hilarious to hear them chatting or reading together without a care in the world.  But more often then not Ella falls fast asleep and we hear Max talking to himself, singing to himself or just laying there kicking his feet. Also, hilarious. And as a side note, there is nobody who sweats more than Max when they sleep… it’s just not possible.

We have tried to capture the magic of what it looks like once they have both fallen fast asleep next to each other. Does it get any cuter?

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Inceptio!!

Can’t believe this just happened. One of our greatest local customers at The Family Place, Sonia, has a brother who just started a new entrepreneurship called Inceptio.  Inceptio is a teambuilding company that does workshops with companies to help their employees learn to better communicate, learn how to use each others gifts, how to find areas of both strengths and weaknesses; you get the point.  If you can think The Office when Michael takes the staff to the lake or Duck Dynasty when Willie takes all the Duck Commander guys to a team building camp then you get the exact idea.  The engineering firm that Pippo, Inceptio’s entrepreneur, got a gig from has over 70 engineers and since they come from all over the world the workplace language is English.  That’s why me and two of our other American friends, including our intern Christy, got the call.

So we had a few pre workshop meetings to all get on the same page and as Pippo started describing to us what we will be doing I kept thinking that this is the exact stuff I used to do when I sold books for Southwestern and I have heard of stuff like this being done in the States, but how in the world is this gonna fly here.  There is practically no other company other than Inceptio that does this in the entire country.  Pippo told me his family doesn’t understand why he is trying this instead of just doing a normal job, but Karim (Pippo’s real name; Pippo is his nick name) wants to start a new destiny for him and his family. This guy is truly inspiring and I mainly wanted to help him do this workshop to see him succeed.  Without going into all the details we spent a day and a half at one of the nicest hotels in the country putting over 70 engineers through different simulations to see how they could work together. It was hilarious.  We did a fashion show to see how they could be creative and loosen up together, we did mind teasers, and relay races. But the best event was “The Lost Treasure.”  The engineers were broken up into 5 teams, given 6 large barrels, 10 long pieces of wood and some thin rope and they had 45 minutes to build a boat that would float while holding 6 people. Then they had to row the boat out into the Mediterranean to gather treasure.  It was a highlight for sure.

Probably the most interesting person in the whole company was a Scottish guy who was a cross between Cruela Devil’s godfather, the mentor of the Snow White’s dwarf friend Grumpy, and Scrooge’s twin brother.  The guy reminded Christy and me of Stanley from the office, except our “Stanley” was much more crude on the outside, more bitter on the inside and threw the f bomb in my face on several occasions because, of course being on my team, I may have tried to provoke him into getting involved Stevie Brown style.  His first line to me was on the bus ride from the company to the hotel. I was conducting an ice breaking memory game, he was in the back paying no attention, but then he told me in the middle of the game, “This game is insulting.”  You would be right if you guessed he spent much of the workshop time at the bar.

The entire day in a half, although it felt like 36 hours inside The Twilight Zone, was a huge success.  It’s one of those events in your life that you get to the end of and say the infamous  phrase of millennials, “That just happened.” The company asked Pippo to do a follow up event, so his business may have just gained the traction needed to be a true success in a land of little opportunity.  This engineering firm was actually his first customers desiring to do a workshop outside the office and they want to do it again… Lord, bless Pippo’s business, we plead!!

Oh, and one last detail.  Pippo paid a video crew to film the entire time in order to make a promo video. So it will end up being like a NAfrican reality show.  You can’t make this stuff up.  We will get the promo video to our readers in due time 🙂

Crazy crazy. Here are a few pics:

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Never Not Ready!!

Thank you to one of my best friends in the world, Mark Butler, for sending me this video. Mark and I celebrated the ’98 National Championship together by driving to downtown Lexington and experiencing the madness along with our friend Jenny Gregory (truly the good ‘ol days). I was only a junior in high school, but it may have been the only time in my life where life itself truly made sense 🙂 (that might be a little over the top, but celebrating UK downtown Lexington after a national championship is a bucket lister fo sho).

All that to say, this video represents much of what the doctors see when they draw blood to test and check up on my cancer… the tiny tumor left in my body has no room to grow with all the space “the 6th man” syndrome takes up!

Here’s to all my other favorite people out there who also Bleed Blue!

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And the winner is…

There are few places on earth where you cannot find a McDonalds or a Subway if you really look (speaking of these two, did you know Subway passed McDonalds as the #1 most restaurants world wide?)  Anywho, because of the last presidents’ laws and his family requiring to be 51% owners of all business of the likes just mentioned, there has never been an American franchise here.

We have heard tons of rumors of Starbucks and McDonalds trying to seal the deal and there is still a non operating Pizza Hut sign from 8 years ago ready to be reopened. But, after all these years and with a new economic freedom that has been found since the revolution, the race has been on for which American restaurant will open its doors first.

And the winner is…

FATBURGER!!

Congratulations to the West Coast chain.  Jenny now has an emotional connection with you that may last until her grave.  You don’t need loyalty cards, her commitment to you will persist even if your burgers increase in price 100 fold.

Their doors opened here September 1st.  It took us till September 24th to finally get to them; a delay Jenny will regret for decades to follow.  Fatburger is only 25 minutes from our house.  Humdullah!

And they did their research.  Check out the airport line ropes.  In order to function like an American restaurant you have to teach how to form a line… priceless. That’s a NEVER STOP NOTICING FUNNY moment for sure!

 

 

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Today.

Somedays you just have to be normal. Relax. Take your kids shopping for four hours and find joy in it. Have a lemonade stand in a country that has probably never seen kids have lemonade stands. And then end the day with a sweet slumber party in the tent in the living room.
Today was a fun day. We found a party store that I never knew existed and we spent time with new and old friends.
Going to bed with a happy heart as I listen to the giggling slumber party girls.
Here are a few pics from today….

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Ky and Ella ready to shop!

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Max is ready to shop too!

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New party store!

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What? Already tired of shopping!

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Lemonade anyone? Our only customers were our American friends.

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Ready to party!

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Fall is Here

The honest truth.
Don’t read this as a complaint. Read it as funny.
It’s still REALLY hot here in the daytime. Yes, it’s cool at night, humdullah, but day is HOT. We went to the beach again on Sunday with our team. The water felt great! Can you believe it September and we are still beaching!? Another humdullah!
BUT “fall” around here looks a little different.
The bonfires don’t smell of s’mores and yummy crackling wood….
They smell of burning diapers.
This is a picture I took as you step out of our front gate. We live on a pretty busy street where they dump trash. Well, I guess they thought it would be a good idea to burn the trash instead of removing it from the neighborhood. Brilliant. Or maybe not.
My friend told me I could go to the municipality and file a complaint.
What do you think?
Should I try?
It could be a fun exercise in language practice!

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Soul Therapy.

No words needed.

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“Seize and Savor”

When we left over a year ago I said a few goodbyes that were different than the others. Saying goodbye to all 4 grandparents felt a little more final. One month after we left my grandma went to heaven. One year ago today.
I wish I were sitting with my mom right now playing canasta or eating potato soup at Bob Evans in honor of grandma, but that will have to wait. I have enjoyed…through many tears…remembering my grandma and the legacy she left in me. I have letters that she wrote for me throughout her life and memories she jotted down of us together. I also have a note she wrote to me before my wedding day ten years ago. She told me to Seize and Savor my life.

Here is a picture of her and Max before we left last year. She would say her hair is messed up but I don’t care. I love the way her and Max are laughing together. I love the years of laughter we had together. I love that she had a relationship with Ella, she rocked her to sleep the day she was born.
The other picture is my baby shower for Ella. Three out of four great grandmas were at this shower! Amazing.
Here’s to a weekend of Seizing and Savoring!
I love you grandma and I wish I could give you four hand squeezes tonight.
We are so blessed.

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UK Basketball 2013-2014…

Perhaps the most difficult season to ever be absent from Lexington for may have just started last night. The alumni game happened. From what I read it was awesome.

Will someone fly me home for Big Blue Madness?
Will someone else fly me home for the National Championship game?

OK, I know… everybody says it’s too early to say much about UK basketball this season. All I’m trying to say is that it’s gonna be a hard season to miss. But thank God for creating the brains and creativity that created things like the internet and online viewing.

I can’t wait. What a fun season to anticipate. Who else is getting fired up?
(I’m calling it in advance that a few haters are going to reply with comments about the NIT last year and blah blah blah).
I love UK Basketball and BBN. You got your support from NAfrica!!

Let this video that was played before the alumni game last night get you excited…
AND THEN LET’S GET IT ON!!!!

Go to Youtube and put in

Kentucky Wildcats TV: Alumni Game Intro

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Beginner Level: Moped Texter

All it takes is 5 minutes on the road to see why “safety first” is not the motto for operators of moving vehicles here. Most compare driving here to playing a video game. There are different levels of difficulty depending on the neighborhood, the time of day and the destination. Sometimes on Advance Levels gamers here will find a taxi going into the opposite lane, while someone else is running a red light, while a pedestrian suddenly decides to cross the street, while there is lady pushing a stroller between lanes all while at a metro crossing where nobody is letting the train through.

This video is just a Beginner Level where all you have to worry about is a dude on a moped not paying attention to you because he is texting. Anyone can pass this level… mainly because the moped doesn’t weigh enough to damage your car for the subsequent levels 🙂

(Cousin Leah caught this live while driving with Jenny, an Expert Level driver just after two weeks of driving)

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