Saturday, December 18, 2010


We have arrived in Bamako. The journey was long. We changed planes once and then had another layover where you stay on the plane. Overall it went very well. This adventure seems surreal but also so completely normal. I'm not sure what to think. On one hand I have been here before, but on the other hand this is all new. I have never moved my family to Mali. When Jeff and I lived here together is was just the two of us and we had little to consider. I anticipate a lot of hard work, but today I feel ready for this new adventure.

Things that are fun...
The Maliens are awesome
There is so much to learn and discover
No winter coats
So many decisions to make

Things that are hard...
The Heat
Malaria Meds (the kids are getting better at swallowing pills)
Mosquito bites (Drew is covered)
We are not at home yet
So many decisions to make

The pros and cons overlap a lot at this point... but it is going well and we are ready to get 'home' and get settled for Christmas.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Jethro Isaac Frazee

Jethro Isaac

Well I need to update my blog... I had a baby on April 29th, 2010. He was 9lbs 4ozs and 21 inches long. He was born in Antony France. My experience was a good one. God was trying to teach us something... that He really is the one in control, once again did we forget? After four children, two that were early, and two that were right on time, I went two weeks overdue with my fifth child! We were quite shocked! I was scheduled for an induction at 8AM on April 29th. After realizing I could not avoid being induced, I went to bed the night before and awoke one hour later to a strong contraction. Between every contraction for one hour I told myself it would just pass as contractions had done for the last month, every other night or so. But during each one I knew for a fact this was the real thing. Finally I woke Jeff and said we needed to call someone to watch the kids, and our neighbor to give us a ride. This was around 1AM. He wanted to know if I was sure, as anyone drug from deep sleep would want to know. :) Our Tunisian neighbor Mouna drove us to the hospital at about 2AM. After getting settled at the hospital the 'sage femme' informed me I was three centimeters. This I could not believe... the pain felt more like 7-8 to me... Well 30 more minutes of that and I decided I should have the epidural. Things progressed very quickly after that and Jethro was born around 6:20AM. I was exhausted and wanted to get home quickly. I left about 30 hours after his birth. Some good friends from Church helped us get home and had a little 'fete' for us complete with strawberry tart, champagne, and chocolate. It was a beautiful ceremony to welcome Jethro home into our family.

Two other ladies at our language school were due after me. Mandy had her baby Alex two weeks later at Antony, followed by Megan having her baby Evie a month later, also at Antony.

Jethro, Evie, Alex

Mandy, Me, Megan

Friday, April 2, 2010

Field Trip!!!

So this week we experienced some misunderstandings with the Maternelle, Joe and Harley's school. We had signed permission slips for Harley and Joe to go on a field trip to the farm on Tuesday. So we prepared them for being at school all day. The school was going to provide a hot lunch at the farm so we would not be picking them up as usual. We went about our day and picked up Drew from school and had a quiet lunch with our oldest and youngest sons. Then after school as we were headed to pick up all kids, one parent stopped us on the street and asked if the school had reached us by phone? Apparently Harley did NOT have a field trip today, and was waiting to be picked up. After being unable to reach us the school had sent her to the 'cantine' for lunch with her classmates that stay over the lunch hour. We picked her up and when she got home I was all prepared to coddle her and give her treats and apologize for being such a terrible mom to leave her little girl in a school for two hours where she couldn't talk to anyone and had to eat strange food. When I asked her about it, she said she would prefer to only go to school once every day. (Since she didn't come home for lunch, she didn't HAVE to go back to school a second time!) Go figure...

So Thursday morning we woke her up and she asked if she could only go to school once that day. Sorry we said... today is a normal day. When Jeff went to pick up the kids for lunch he discovered that TODAY was Harley's field trip to the farm, and she would be having lunch there with her class... So she did get to go to school only once that day!

Well Harley has had some French experiences this week which she loved... and we have had an experience with misunderstanding the information we get from the school! Praise God for taking care of us and our children, when we don't know what is going on!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Consignment Sale in France

It has been hard to find used things and baby items in France... up until this past week. We found a consignment sale last Saturday and really scored. Five of us ladies piled into one car and shopped till our hearts content. We found, play mats, bouncy seats, car seats, mattresses and many clothes!!! I only wish we knew the sex of our baby because the French have some really cute girl clothes!!! :) Two and a half weeks to go and we should know! Keep praying for a safe delivery for us and the perfect timing. I wouldn't mind early, but I am due the last day of class and it would also be nice to finish up this session. Although I must admit it is getting harder and harder to concentrate on my studies... :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ask and you shall receive...

In so many ways… we are blessed and overblessed… I just need to share some of them wtih you. First of all, I wrote a blog while back called Love to France… it was in the midst of frustration over not knowing how to find things we wanted. Living in a foreign country is challenging. We have been so blessed by people who have showered us with packages with all sorts of goodies. Thank you for thinking of us and for sacrificing your time and money to light up our days. I cannot tell you how excited the kids are when we get a package and we all dig in with anticipation.

Another thing we have asked for, mostly from God, is for opportunities to speak french and make some friends. This last week we were blessed. We had a birthday party for Zach on Saturday. Jeff told me on Wednesday that I should go invite 3 of our neighbors to his party. I didn't want to… it is hard to approach a strangers door and use my broken french to talk… but I did. The first door I went to, a family with one little girl Harley's age invited me in. I almost said no, I need to go invite more people, but then thought better of it. We visited for about an hour after which we promised to stop by anytime and watch each others kids. She even offered to take me shopping in her car and after I have the baby, take me to a local moms group.

On Friday our Church has a ladies bible study. I have been trying to go with my friend Hilary from our school who also attends our Church. It has been canceled numerous times and this Friday she was going to be on vacation. But she asked one of the Church ladies if they could pick me up. So Friday I went to a ladies Bible Study. I did not understand a lot, but was once again blessed by their kindness to me. And enjoyed the fellowship between believers that crosses over cultural and language barriers. One Church lady had brought me two bags of toys for our kids that her daughters had outgrown. So thoughtful. And another lady told me there was a porta crib at Church for me. She knew we were looking for an extra baby bed. God just goes before us taking care of the extra things. When we left San Jose we knew our kids wouldn't miss their toys too much they couldn't bring with them, but isn't it just like God to provide for them anyway with extra!?

That night we recieved a phone call from a man we do not know from our Church. He said he had heard that we wanted to go visit the farm of another Church man, but didn't have a ride. He would be happy to pick us up and take us. So right after Zach's party Jeff, Drew, Joe and Harley went with Charles an hours ride away to a dairy farm. After an extensive tour they were able to sample the cheese made on the farm.

All three of the families we invited came to Zach's party on Saturday. (As well as many of our good friends from Les Cedres) It was a wild good time with about 20 kids.) Jeff even had one of our neighbors read a portion from Job and explained to them all why he had chosen the name Zachariah Job for him.

On Sunday we had been invited to a families home for lunch after Church. (Our Church goes till 1:30PM so this is a late affair.) After a pre appetizer of goat cheese, dried salami, pretzel sticks and juice, we were invited to a beautiful table for an appetizer salad, then a sausage and potato main course, followed by a cheese and wine, and then a delicious chocolate cake. Wow! We were impressed. Then we visited and the wife took me up to her attick and blessed me with baby clothes she had saved that were her own childrens things. I could not believe their kindness and generosity. They gave the kids books in french and let them play endlessly with toys. And fed them another snack. When we finally checked the time we saw that it was 7:20PM… He drove us home and when we got there he gave us a special cake from the south of france.

Also this last week Jeff met a couple at the park in front of our house from Tunisia. They were super friendly. They live just around the corner from us and on our second meeting with them they gave us their phone number and said to call them when we need a ride to the hospital. Day or night, they would be happy to take us. This is a blessing because Taxi's can take a long time to come, and some will refuse to take a pregnant women. If you are in the french health care system, you can call an ambulance, but we would have to pay for that!

So as you can see… when it rains, it pours… Thank God with us for all these opportunities and pray for us to have the energy to take it all in and continue to learn all we can. God is good...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Life is Good

Life is good... I think transition goes up and down when you move to another country... but two months in is a good time for me. I know how to find the things we need, I know better how to ask for help... I know not to expect a rush of customer service... :) We just had an awesome visit with Jeff's mom... Lulu... the kids loved having her here. She spoiled us and helped us set up house. She watched the kids so we could go out on a date. And she was just there to share in our daily lives and be able to understand what life is like here for us. It is nice to have that connection with someone from back home.

Pray for us this week as the kids go back to school after two weeks off. It will be a bit hard. I meet with an anesthesiologist on Tuesday at the Hospital. And on Friday I am going to a bible study with ladies from Church. Also I am planning to celebrate Zach's 2nd birthday this coming Saturday. We met a nice couple at the park yesterday, pray we bump into them again... it would be nice to invite them to Zach's birthday party.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Love to France...

Care packages are fun and people have asked what we would like here if they wanted to send something. So I thought I would write out a few things. Some would fit in an envelope with a letter, others would be in a box.

Tacco Seasoning... (yes we miss taccos)
Chap stick
Thank You notes (very hard to find here)
Peanut butter
Fishy crackers or animal crackers
Kids vitamins
Note pads

We are getting more used to what we can find here and how to make it work. I love a granola I found for breakfast with vanilla yogurt on it. We eat sandwiches for lunch almost every day. (Jeff picks up a baguette on his way home with the kids.) And dinenrs have been random. Quiche, frozen pizza, lentil soup, grilled cheese, rice and sauce. Meat is very expensive here and frozen dinners are cheap. So we are using the more 'unhealthy' frozen dinners most school nights so I don't have to put much brain power or time into cooking after studying all day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lessons from The Little Prince

Jeff has been reading The Little Prince to our kids at bedtime since we arrived in France. The other day while he was reading about the Fox being tamed by the little prince I found myself very moved. The reasons that have been hard for me to leave my friends and all that I find comforting and familiar is that I have let myself be tamed by them. The fox talked about what it would be like to be tamed by the Prince like this…

“If you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…”

So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near- “Ah,” said the fox, “I shall cry.”

“It is your own fault,” said the little prince. “I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you…”

“Yes that is so,” said the fox.

“But now you are going to cry!” said the little prince.

“Yes that is so,” said the fox.

“Then it has done you no good at all!”

“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.”

Then as the little prince left the fox he gave the little prince some advice… “What is essential is invisible to the eye” and “it is the time you have wasted on what you have tamed that makes it so important to you.”

Many things remind me of dear friends and family. I am glad I was tamed by you, so that I am reminded of you as I see things that we shared in common. It is hard to be away, but the memories we share make it worth the sadness.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shopping in France

I am starting to get the hang of this kind of life... I bought a shopping cart that I can pull home from the store... now the trick is only buying what fits in there so I don't also have bags to carry alongside... more trips but less weight per trip. It goes so against my Costco/stock up shopping mind that I have trained myself for. Luckily the store are not far... all within one Kilometer I think. That between half and three quarters of a mile. I have not been real creative with my cooking yet, just eating the basics, but I might try a quiche this weekend. Maybe I should get the Julie Childs cookbook and work through it like in the Julie and Julia move... NO... that would never work at this pace of life we are living. But I would like a french cookbook... it would call for things that I can actually find in the stores.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A New Year with New Challenges

January 1st, 2010

I have to admit, I brought in the New Year with tears. I don’t know why this adjustment has been so hard for me. It is not that I don’t like being here. The people I have met are great. I like getting lots of walking exercise and exploring. Trying new food sounds exciting.

But I miss the familiarity of home. I miss being able to be surprised by a phone call or instant message from someone. It all started with Jeff asking why I really want internet at our house. We can go over to our school everyday and we have free internet there. So is it really that big of a deal to also have it here in our home. I don’t know why this is such a tough issue for me to let go of. I had ideas of hearing the Skype phone call and being surprised that someone had reached us. Maybe they were awake in the middle of the night and knew we would be up. Or after I am home with our new baby, getting on and talking to people from my bed, letting them see our new baby. Or even keeping up with your blogs and emails so I know what is going on with my friends and family back home. Not that I cannot do that from school once a day, and plan times to Skype people from there. I guess the ability to be connected to the world any time I want was much more deeply imbedded than I realized. I feel like Jeff was surgically removing it from me and it hurts. I believe he has good reasons and it will be good for our family on different levels. But why is it so hard for me? I don’t know. It was not one of the things I expected to have to give up this year.