The Shocking Stove

The Shocking Stove

When we first moved into this apartment a couple of years ago I noticed I was getting shocked when I touched the stove, microwave or coffee pot.

I’m not referring to an uncomfortable “tingle” like when you were a kid and stuck your tongue to a 9 volt battery. I mean more of an all out “sling raw eggs across the kitchen while trying to cook breakfast” kind of shock.

We eventually found an electrician who told us our apartment wasn’t grounded and that he could fix it. He pulled the stove out from the wall and proceeded to drive a nail into the tile with a piece of wire wrapped around it. He pounded the nail deep into the tile and pushed the stove back in place. Viola! Problem solved.I have no idea what he did or why he did it. But, I do know it worked and my time in the kitchen was a lot less “electrifying” from that point on.

Unfortunately, the problem has returned. And while I’ve yet to sling raw egg across the kitchen, I have dropped a pot or two and screamed like a little girl.

“Call the electrician” is on my to do list but in the meantime I’ve had to get creative.

Whenever I’m cooking anything in my oven or on the stovetop I try to remember to put on shoes with a rubber sole so I won’t get shocked…which sounds a lot easier than it really is.

All too often I’m barefooted and my shoes are upstairs. If I don’t have time to run and get them I have to grab the next closest thing which usually turns out to be Britten’s flip flops. Stylish. I know.If Britten happens to be wearing his flip flops then I just grab whichever shoe I can squeeze my foot into. That often times is a little boy’s size six, which leaves me trying to shimmy my fat toes into enough of the shoe that I don’t get zapped.

But the most attractive ensemble is when I come straight home from the gym and kick my shoes off only to realize I need to take something out of the oven and I’m only wearing socks. Don’t judge, it’s all in the name of safety.
And while I won’t be winning any fashion awards anytime soon, at least I’m not cleaning up splattered egg.

Still Gettin’ Groceries

Still Gettin’ Groceries

Lately we’ve found ourselves in a particularly hectic season of life. Maybe it’s the fact that we have five children, maybe it’s that we homeschool, maybe it’s that I work part time, maybe I’m a giant cream puff and can’t handle the daily challenges of life. I’ll let you decide but don’t tell me the answer, m’kay?

In this season my constant prayer for myself is that God would allow me to see His grace in the daily grind of life. Those are the moments I often fail to see His goodness.

When the sink is full and dishes are pouring out onto the counter and there is no dishwasher. When the school days are long, the b’s still look like d’s and long division eludes us.
When it’s 95 degrees outside and I’m walking to the store in an abaya.
Don’t we all sometimes get weighed down by the daily tasks of life?

This week I was looking back through some old blog posts and came across a post I wrote nearly two years ago. We were living in a neighboring country and the simple task of going to the grocery store was sheer misery. I laughed out loud as I read the blog post in it’s entirety. Then I breathed a huge sigh of relief because that was a thing of the past. To completely appreciate the remainder of this post you need to read the original Gettin’ Groceries blog post. 

And while I’m still “Gettin’ Groceries” on a routine basis, things look a bit different this time around.

This week I pulled up the Danube app on my phone, sat in my favorite chair with a Diet Coke and ordered all the groceries I needed for the week. I then scheduled what day and time I wanted them delivered to my house and hit “place order.”

The next morning a kind young man rang the doorbell and delivered my groceries to the front door. No service charge, no delivery fee and no out of control grocery carts.
Praise hands ya’ll. 🙌🙌🙌🙌 All the praise hands. 🙌🙌🙌🙌
He handed me the receipt so I could pay and my grocery shopping was done. My what a difference a couple of years can make.

So the next time I get overwhelmed by the daily “stuff” I’m going to remind myself of the years we pushed  double grocery carts through the mall with our five kids in tow and I hope I will praise God for His goodness in the many small ways He pours it out each day.

Spartan Race 2017

Spartan Race 2017

This month the Spartan Race made it’s inaugural appearance in our city and despite the fact that we were barely over jet lag, Britten wanted to do it.

The boys saw how excited their dad was and quickly jumped on board with the idea of competing in the Spartan Junior. I’ve always wanted to do a Spartan Race but unfortunately women weren’t allowed to compete. However, we were allowed to spectate which means it was an event women and men could attend together and in our city that’s a major change kind of a big deal.

And while I was incredibly bummed that there wasn’t a ladies division, I was thrilled to watch from the sidelines and cheer on my guys. 

  1. For the kid’s race there weren’t specific winners. Every child that finished got a t-shirt and a medal. Brax was extremely jealous of his brothers so Britten gave him his medal so he could be like them.Speaking of medals, I’m going to take this opportunity to publicly brag on my man. Britten got 3rd place in his division. And while he’s probably going to reprimand me for posting this, he’s not here to stop me so I’m hitting publish and will apologize later. And while I’m certain my washing machine may never recover from all the mud, I am so incredibly proud of my guys.
Business As Usual

Business As Usual

Right before we left the states to head back to the Middle East we had a microscopic bit of snow in our city. Our boys learned then that homeschooling has its advantages and disadvantages. While our cousins were at home curled up on the couch watching movies, we were in the school room handling business as usual.

However, there are also great advantages to homeschooling. One of those advantages being, no matter where we are, we can carry on with school. And when you travel as much as we do, that’s a pretty great incentive.

We have been living in a hotel for a little longer than originally anticipated so it was imperative that we resume our school schedule, even if for no other reason than to bring some order to our day.

We’ve set up a nice little system here in the hotel and Taylor Academy is in full swing. We eat breakfast and then work together to clean the table off and get school started. When lunch time rolls around we put the school away and prepare lunch. After lunch we clean up the table again and drag the school books back out. Finally, when we finish school for the day, we put all the books away and transition to dinner…again. Doesn’t that just sound delightful?

I must admit that my OCD nature gets tested regularly by the fact that we don’t have a designated “school room.”

I try to stay as organized as possible by creating neat stacks for each of the boys but when the laundry drying area doubles as a bookshelf, things can get cluttered. 
And no need to worry about the fact that the majority of our school supplies are still packed in our tubs. We may not have the necessary supplies but we are getting by just fine. You’d be surprised how resourceful I can be when backed against a wall. I’m encouraging myself with the idea that once we get settled in our home and have the school room set back up the schooling will practically take care of itself. And today I’m choosing to live in that reality so please don’t spoil it for me.

A New Look for the New Adventure

A New Look for the New Adventure

We left Birmingham with 21 checked bags, three backpacks, a stroller, two carseats and 7 carry-ons.

We arrived back in our city last week with all but one of our suitcases. After 27 hours of travel from point A to point B we finally made it.
The boys are absolute rock stars when it comes to saying goodbye, navigating airports, sleeping on the plane and eating airplane food.

Me….not so much. Which is why I passed out on my sweet husband in the Paris airport and left him to wrangle my jet lagging brood.

We are eagerly anticipating the new adventures that are around the corner. I personally look forward to documenting them here on the blog.

The new adventures necessitated a new look so the blog got a little facelift courtesy of the Etsy shop Graphics Candy who is not only incredibly talented but overwhelmingly kind and patient to work with.

You can still find me here at but since we haven’t been a family of six for nearly three years I needed to make a few minor changes. I hope you enjoy the new look and the upcoming excitement. We’ve only been here eleven days and the list of things that I want to etch in my blogging memory are already spilling over in my head. I can’t wait to share them with you.

Emergency Passport, Atlanta and College Football

Emergency Passport, Atlanta and College Football

“When are you leaving?”

It’s the question we get asked multiple times per day. We originally planned to be gone the first of the year, but things don’t always go as planned.

We’ve been waiting on our visas to arrive and were thrilled to finally get them in the mail this week. Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long when we realized that one of the boy’s passports wasn’t in the envelope with the rest. And we always travel with all of our boys. 😉

We called the embassy the next day to try and figure out what had happened only for them to tell us they mailed all of the passports back to us. That’s a problem.

Now we either sit back and hope our 7 year old’s passport arrives…or we can take matters into our own hands.

We  decided the latter and needed to get a replacement passport as soon as possible. We called the US Passport Agency and made an appointment for the following day….in Atlanta. Both parents have to be present to receive a child’s passport so we woke up early the next morning and loaded up the boys for a road trip. Our appointment was in the morning and the sweet people at the agency told us to come back later that afternoon to pick up the newly prepared passport. So, we found ourselves in Atlanta for the day and needed something to do. No need to worry- there are plenty of things to do in ATL.

It has been fascinating to watch our boys become slightly obsessed with football this Fall. With that said- we decided to head over to the College Football Hall of Fame. 

The boys practiced their skills in the obstacle course.

Got in the game withe the virtual reality stadium.

And even had a chance to test their skills as a college football announcer.

I literally had to drag the boys out at closing time. If you have a football fan in your life, this is the place to go.

We closed out the day by picking up the brand new passport. So, for those keeping count at home– we have an unforeseen trip to ATL, emergency passport for the eight year old, a solid day at the College Football Hall of Fame… and an upcoming departure back to our home in the Middle East in the days to come.

And the winner is….

And the winner is….

The votes have been counted and the results are in.

Brook’s apartment ornament received 60 votes.

Britten’s Hermosa Beach ornament received 12 votes.

Two people declared the 2016 competition a tie.

I’m over the moon excited that I have secured bragging rights for 2017 but fully expect Britten to reclaim his title in the days ahead.

Ornament Swap 2016

Ornament Swap 2016

Last week our yearly Christmas date night and ornament swap went down.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about then take two minutes to get up to speed by reading the short explanation of our Christmas tradition.

The anticipation and build up was evident for many weeks leading up to our date night. Britten and I didn’t miss an opportunity to talk trash or taunt each other with the assurance that our ornament would win this year.

I’ll let you decide who you think came away with the win.

Here is the story behind the ornaments…

1. This past summer we took our first vacation sans kids since 2006 and I’m still not sure why we waited so long to do so. It was an amazing week touring L.A., riding bikes through Venice Beach and watching the Crossfit Games. One of our favorite nights during the trip was the night we went to Hermosa Beach, ate pizza at a little hole in the wall and sat for hours on the beach with our feet in the sand talking about life and dreaming about the future. As parents of many little guys, the opportunity to talk face to face with no interruptions doesn’t come often, which made this particular night such a gift. It was a night we both want to remember for a long time. Thanks to this ornament, we can remember it every Christmas when we hang the Hermosa Beach ornament on the tree. 

2. We have lived in 1,569, I mean a few different homes in our marriage. Each home was special and unique in it’s own way, but after a while it’s difficult to remember the various homes and what you treasure about each one. However, there are a few that have made an eternal impression on our lives. Our home in 2016 is one of those. The six story apartment building. The street name. The parking space under the building. The double glass door going into the lobby. The date we arrived. The city in which we lived. All those and more will be remembered each year that we pull out this hand painted Christmas ornament.

**If you’re wondering, the top two right hand windows were our home in 2016. And we also had the upper area which was the outside space for our kids to frolic. 

In my humble opinion, it was a strong year for Christmas ornaments and we will treasure both of these for years to come, but I’m leaving the final outcome of this year’s contest in the hands of my readers.

Notice I didn’t tell you who bought each ornament. That was on purpose. If you would, take a second to decide which ornament you think won this year and cast your vote. We look forward to gloating and basking in our success upon hearing the results.