The Googegs - Strangers in the World

The Googegs - Strangers in the World

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Miscellaneous Spring

Just a few pictures from our spring time.

A gully washer came down on a warm day and the kids ran out to play:

Some in Swimsuits and some .... not:

Our homeschool officially ended this Friday. WHEW! I love it, but I am always happy for the summer break. I need it.

Braydon has been trying his skateboard. I was supposed to get a picture of him in the air, but my camera is not working so well, so this was the best I could do

It seems that every year some kind of turtle shows up at our house. Here was our latest one:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Adventurous Food We Have Eaten

  • Sea Turtle roasted on the beach
  • Eggs of sea turtle (same beach)
  • Coconut Crabs that were running over your feet the day before
  • Fried Rutabagas
  • Fried Rabbit
  • Fish eyeballs (considered a delicacy!)
  • Clam fresh from the ocean floor
  • Crawdad's -- grilled of course
  • Breadfruit; fried
  • Alligator Tail
  • Blood Sausage
  • Head Cheese
  • Bloody, Bloody
  • Sopapilla's
  • Kim Chee
  • Taro
  • Tapioca (not pudding)
  • Beef Tongue
  • Beef Heart
  • Tuna sashime
  • Dulce de Leche
  • Pig's Feet
  • Chicken Feet
  • Turnip Green soup cooked entirely in oil

It helps to travel to eat some of these foods. It is great to have kids that are willing (most of the time) to try some new foods. Our family is international, curious and we have strong stomachs!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mary's Nine-Twelve

May 18th was Mary's birthday. I call it the "nine-twelve". On Mary's official paperwork from Liberia lists her age as turning 9 this year. However, she can remember being older and we did have a bone age scan done (The Age Old Question). From the scan it is believed that she is between 11 and 12. So, on her birthday she turned 12 at home and 9 on her birth certificate.

We have decided to scale birthday's way back and we discussed months ago that we would not be giving presents this year. However, we take the kids on a family trip. Something fun, that the birthday child helps decide. We hoped that this would save our pocket book, stop adding to the plastic toyland of frustration, and build bonding memories. Mary's was our first such birthday.

It turned out to be a great day. She requested a cherry cheesecake and we all took a trip to Brukner Nature Center. There are many hiking trails, and some animals to observe. It really was a great day. Grandma had sent some gifts (a fancy watch and a pretty necklace) that Mary just loved. Unfortunately, my camera was dying and we got few pictures of the day, which I posted above.

I was pleased with the new style of birthday celebration and I think Mary was happy too. It was a very calm day. We were able to just hang out together and enjoy Mary and be outside.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Story to Tell

Once upon a time in Billings, Montana (of all places!), a young boy from Yap Island met a young military brat whose family was living in Wyoming. The two hit it off, but a year of dating and he went off to Atlanta and she went to Denver. They called on the phone and lo in October a box arrived regular mail (no insurance). The note attached asked her to wait to open until he called that night from his night shift at a local motel. During the call she was opening the package and came to a jewelry box, obviously a RING, but before she could lift that lid.... he put her on hold to deal with a customer. Finally, he returned and asked her to marry him. Maybe not romantic, but definitely unique.

May 16, 1987 they married at the same church her parents married at some 27 years earlier. They knew that they were starting a new life together, but they certainly did not know the adventures that awaited them.

They lived in Denver and money was more than tight -- at times it was almost non-existent. He couldn't afford to finish college and he couldn't find a decent job. She was working, but without a college degree, office work wasn't makin' much bacon. He decided the Navy was his best bet and took off for boot camp in San Diego. The separation was lonely, but the graduation was a blast -- well, except for the two nights of throwing up he experienced due to the lovely immunizations they gave. Shortly thereafter they were off for Norfolk, Virginia, his duty station.

Far from family and no friends in site they set up house and he took off. In port for short, out at sea a lot, it was an interesting life and soon they made friends and moved from apartment to apartment to apartment -- she had a touch of itchy foot syndrome. About five years later his parents passed on, both at one time a sad and profound loss. Two younger brothers came to stay and the young couple found themselves learning to live with two college freshmen and never enough transportation to share.

In 1994, they added a baby at last. The dogs were jealous; the couple was ecstatic. The young boys at home were smitten with their niece. To make things work she took a night shift and he took a day. The baby was home with someone most of the day. A few hours at daycare -- dropped off by mom and picked up by dad. Baby was thriving, mom and dad were decidedly, not.

Finally, a job offer and a move made her a stay home mom right before Baby's first birthday. The young men stayed behind and the small family started over in Ohio. It was great, and soon a niece moved in from Yap to try High School in the States. Well, the college boys had done fine and now a teenager, a toddler on her hip and NEWS -- a new baby was coming.
In 1997 a bouncing baby boy joined this mix -- he was nothing like the first and never has been. The niece finished high school and moved on to a new life the couple decided to home school their two and life was humming along.

Such a great family, such a lot of love let's add on they decided and after almost giving up hope the phone range with news of two - "You want them, or should I call down the list." Not the introduction they had hoped for, but off they went to retrieve two new children. One phone call, 15 minutes, the family went from 4 to six. It was a tough start, but they hung on and the family made it through the storm.

Four children, an old house right in the middle of town -- they needed room to run -- out to the country they went. A big house, two acres, a very small town and even a church with large families to boot -- we are home they said and settled right in.

Some years passed and those children with God in their heart and ideas in their head prayed and prayed until the hearts of their parents caved. More children they decided and after much paperwork, prayer and time two new kids did arrive -- this time from Africa.

So, those two kids that met in Montana; they did start a life together and the life they have lived has amazed even them. With God at the helm, love and commitment at heart, they have been married 22 years. "Happily ever after" ends a story real sweet, but this story is not done ... just a pause to reflect....

Friday, May 8, 2009

My, My What Happened to Me?

I haven't posted in forever, but I am still here. Things have just been out of control lately.

I finally finished up my Grand Jury duty. Three months doesn't sound like much, but some of the cases were tough to hear. My last jury duty day was called for an afternoon. Riane can usually watch the kids for me if I have to run out alone, but I didn't know how long it would last. Jerome can not be reached easily at work, I can not be interrupted during jury, so I invited my friend to bring her kids over. I thought it would keep everyone occupied and not really be work for everyone. It was a blast of a day. Everyone had a hootin' good time and I got home early enough to have a nice visit with my friend. That day was my 6 kids plus her 4 kids = 10 kids, 2 adults - big fun!

My other friend has just welcomed in her first grandchild. While she was out of town, I offered to have her kids one afternoon to give them a break. The older kids had to be gone and dropped the 4 youngers. Another afternoon of 10 kids one adult. The next day we had them for dinner -- this time 5 + 6.

I laughed all the way through the week, because God is funny. I NEVER thought I would actually have six children of my own. Watching a friends kid or two when my first children were little, almost sent me into fits -- now 10 or 11 everyday -- no prob! What I have discovered is that the more kids there are the less work there is for the grownup on duty. All the kids usually have a friend or playmate. They entertain each other. All they really want out of me is food or drink when the need hits. Other than that -- they don't need me to chat or play or anything!

Other than riding herd on the lovelies, I have entered the world of serious couponing. Not clipping one here or there, I mean ad-matching, doubling, the whole bit. So far, I have begun a small stockpile and have also saved about 30% on my grocery bill. It is a lot of work, but I am seeing some headway. My blogging time has floated off into researching the best way to pull the belt a bit tighter. What I have discovered here is that is makes things so much more exciting. I use to drag myself to the grocery every week, buy the same things and come home. By the end of the week, the food was gone and I would do it again.

Now, I have ads, coupon binders, such and I am off. I hit the store on a hunt for the best deal. I do not buy the same old things every week. I come home on a high with a receipt a mile long showing all my savings and discounts. The kids excitedly wait to see what new thing I found a great deal on. Are they getting new flavors of yogurt -- different chips -- cool paper towels -- what? I am also learning to stockpile -- which means I am not really out at the end of the week, just filling in the fresh foods and stocking the best items. I don't have it all down yet, and my stockpile is still a bit weak, but I am off on another adventure.

We also took Braydon and another little girl from church to the Regional Bible Quiz at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. They pulled off first and second places. What a great day. Tonight Braydon is off again at the Pre-Teen Lock in at our district center. Our family does not "do" overnights, so Jerome will be picking him up between 12:00am and 2:00am. Whenever the fun is done and the sleeping bags and movie come out.

Life has been a whirlwind, but that should catch us up on the big news. I will try to work on here in the next few days to post pictures.

I hope you are all having some exciting adventures in your families too.