Entries from March 31st, 2014

Over the weekend

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Some photos from over the weekend
1. Mathew // strumming his guitar. I love it…especially when he sings along.
2. Liliana // it snowed…and she wanted watermelon to go along with it.
3. Aden // glow in the dark star sticker warrior. He’s at such a fun stage right now…always making me laugh.
4. Addie & Taylor // the Hubs and I took them out to dinner after picking him up from the airport. It’s nice to have time alone with these two. We spent a lot of time discussing life and their futures. These two are going big.
5. Liam // with his nose deep in one of my old books. “Haunted House” he loves it…and he’s in first grade. I don’t recall reading it until I was in at least third grade…man things have sure changed.

Haiti // a mission trip

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A few weeks ago my two oldest daughters, Taylor and Addie, had the opportunity to travel with a local relief group to Haiti for 10 days. Known as the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, Haitians deal with issues of poverty and desperation for something as simple as clean water daily. It has long been a dream of my girls to serve those less fortunate and this trip was exactly what they had been looking for.

While in Haiti they spent the majority of their time serving in a remote village in the mountains. They would travel by a “tap-tap” everyday for three hours each way to reach the village. Most of the children living in the village had never seen light skinned people before, so when their relief group arrived on the first day the children ran in fear thinking they were there to eat them. One of the translators quickly let them know that they were there to help and would definitely not be eating them. My daughters shared that even though you could tell that the villagers (especially the children) were fearful and nervous it wasn’t too long before they warmed up and became friends.

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This young boy (shown above and below) was one who particularly struck my daughter Taylor. She said “I still think about this trip everyday. Especially this little boy. He was in the village the first day we went to visit. He couldn’t have been more than three years old and he was sitting by himself and cooking over an open fire. I watched as he tried to pick up the pot from the hot fire and quickly dropped it. He then went and found some leaves, crinkled them up in his hands and used them as a barrier to get the hot pot of food off of the fire. It broke my heart to see him and so many other kids taking on these types of responsibilities and losing a significant part of being a child, having fun and playing most of the day.”

Each day in the village the relief group would eat one meal while there. They were not allowed to eat in front of the villagers so all 23 of them would pack into an old church house that wasn’t any bigger than a small bedroom. My daughters said that the first day they learned that whatever they didn’t eat off of their own plates would be given to the children and villagers. Knowing that they said they would just pick at the food (so as to not offend the cooks) only taking a few bites and would then leave the rest for the villagers to eat.

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One of the children’s most favorite things was getting their picture taken. My girls said they could spend hours upon hours just simply taking pictures of the them and then showing them the photos of themselves on either their cameras or phones. Most of the children had not ever seen what they looked like because they do not have mirrors in the village. Sometimes there would be a group of children gathered around together and they would each take turns raising their hands while getting a picture taken so they would be able to identify themselves in the photo.

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These two adorable brothers never left each others side. Where ever they went they were hand in hand and always clinging to each other. When Taylor was going through her photos with me I was confused when she said “brothers” in reference to this capture. As I noticed the clothing on the younger boy. She said “yes, he had a Hannah Montana shirt on with flowered denim capris and that was his “best dress” clothing”. Both of the girls then proceeded to share with me that the villagers wore their best clothing for them. Some had nicely pressed white shirts and dress slacks but most were not so fortunate. Tattered shirts and if they were lucky a pair of shoes was what was more common. Little boys wore girls clothes, and little girls wore boys clothes because in this Haitian village where clothing runs short there is nothing that is only worn by specific genders.

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Addison adores children and spent a lot of her time playing with the little ones in the village. The little girl shown above in the yellow dress was one she wanted to bring home. They had an immediate bond and spent everyday together. On the last day she never showed up to meet with them and it broke Addie’s heart to not be able to say goodbye to her. She shared this about her experience in Haiti “This trip was one of the hardest but most rewarding experiences of my life. Playing with these children broke my heart daily as well as humbled me and opened up my world. I am forever grateful for this experience and to have been touched by the Haitian people. I went to Haiti to serve the people, and the people ended up serving me. I fell in love with their beautiful land and culture.”

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After the devastating 2010 earthquake hit over 1 million Haitians were displaced and many set up tent cities as they no longer had anywhere to live. Since my girls spent 6 hours each day riding in the “tap-tap” (as seen below) to and from the village they had a lot of time to really observe the towns they would pass through. The devastation is still enormously present from the earthquake and most Haitians live off of less than $2 a day. Markets are set up everywhere with people trying to sell anything and everything just to get their next meal or maybe some clean water. There is no sewage system and trash litters every bit of the countryside. When I was going through all of the photos that Taylor captured (which are pretty amazing..she definitely has talent in that area) the one above on the left kept standing out. The destruction of the city, the lady carrying a jug of water (which chances are isn’t clean) and walking in the street laden with trash in her bare feet.. the desperation held in this photo just kept getting me.

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These two girls right here…amaze me. They left on this mission trip with suitcases jam packed full of all of their “necessities” but returned home with nearly empty suitcases but overflowing hearts full of compassion and gratitude. They left behind all of their clothing and shoes for the villagers and wished they could have left more. The both of them vowed to be returning to Haiti again and making mission trips a regular part of their futures. They really just make me proud.

Photos by Taylor

Blog Launch Giveaway // my favorite things

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We have been enjoying the warmer weather we’ve had around and spent some time this weekend wandering the neighborhood, playing in the park and finding little treasures all along the way. Spring is definitely in the air, and I am SO excited to announce my blog launch with my first ever giveaway! It’s a combination of some of my most favorite things.

If you didn’t already know, I’m a huge Hello Apparel fan. I love supporting small businesses and when I discovered Hello Apparel it was love at first sight. From their Adults to kids clothes, everything in their line is unique, fun and beyond comfy. And L loves that we can “be da same.” Who doesn’t love twinning it up occasionally with their little ones. Plus you won’t find better customer service around. All of their pieces are simple and work with everything. Trust me, I should know…we sport some sort of Hello Apparel piece at least 3-4 times a week in this house…and they just get better with time.

I discovered The Mason Bar Company last spring and haven’t put my mason jar down since. I use it everyday. For smoothies, tea (hot or cold), infused water, and just plain ole H2O. I have the 24oz Tumbler with a glass Dharma straw and it goes with me everywhere. In fact I don’t know what I ever did without it! I love drinking water out of it as it is always so fresh tasting (even when I leave it overnight) with no funky leachy plasticy, or aluminumy (I don’t even know if those are words…but you get my point) flavors mixed in. You want one, trust me.

When I opened my package from Maylilies I was immediately taken. Seriously, a darling little box topped with adorable washi tape and wrapped with a simple bakers twine. And then to open it to the most simple, yet classy gold bar bracelet was the complete package! This piece is my new favorite. It adds just the right amount of simple beauty to any outfit.

One lucky reader will receive:

$50 Store Credit to Hello Apparel

$25 Store Credit to The Mason Bar Company

And a Gold Bar bracelet from Maylilies

Plus in the mean time you can use code “TAG” for %15 off from Hello Apparel

use code “MIKOB15” for %15 off from The Mason Bar Company and Maylilies

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rain

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To me there is nothing better than the fresh smell of rain. It reminds me of home and makes my heart and apparently L’s soar too. Earlier this week we found this fun bubble umbrella at Target and it sure came in handy today as I was watching this girl jump, dance, run and play up and down the street while we waited for her Daddy to get home.

In other news, I just returned home from dropping her two big sisters off at the airport. They are headed to Haiti on a red eye tonight for a service mission with a local church group. They will be there for 11 days. I am beyond excited for them to have this experience and can’t wait for their lives to be changed. I’ll share more about it soon.

xoxo

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