Sunday, December 28

Look What I Found!!!

WOW! What a surprise it was to find these OLD pictures of LBA (Life Before Africa)! The kids have grown so much and some of us have lost some weight! HA HA HA! Hope you have fun looking at these like I did! Of course, I had to choose only a few!!
This was a huge moment, we were CRATED!!
Lily's last day of preschool in Texas.

Easton, Kendall, and I played cards while the men boxed up our house.

Oh yes, Lily loved to surprise Kendall with art projects when he woke up from naps!

What is that foreign object on the ground??? Will I ever see that again?!

ALL of our boxes to ship to Zambia.

Lily was 2 years old and Easton was 4 months old in this picture.

My kitchen in our seminary apartment before we moved!

Easton's first trip to the beach in Corpus Christi, look at that face! My GOODNESS he was FAT!

Wednesday, December 24

Little Chefs in a Big Kitchen...

I really enjoy cooking and today, Christmas Eve, I have decided is the day that I will prepare the Christmas meal, so that I am not slaving in the kitchen on the day we celebrate Jesus' birth and have a full day of family time!

I began cooking at 7:00 a.m. and by 9:00 a.m. I had some little chefs in the kitchen with me! They were making tea and "2 cups of sugar" cake. The tupperware was set and they were having a picnic in the middle of the kitchen!

After that, we snapped green beans, which they LOVE to do!
Soon after the green beans, they watched as I made the carrot souffle and banana bread.
Then they wanted to help me check the turkey and baste it.
I put on my apron, which I never do because I forget, then Lily wanted an apron ( I had one stored away for THAT moment when she asked for one!) and then I lost Easton's apron, so I took one of my long sleeved shirts and made him an apron as well!

Easton then begged to wash the dishes, Lily put away the dishes that she could reach so that there would be room on the drying rack and after completing that task she began to rinse the dishes that Easton washed. Of course, Mama had an eye on the cleanliness of the dishes as they passed to the drying rack!
We had a fun day and everything but the rolls, dressing, and dessert are ready for Christmas dinner! YIPPEE!!!

Lauren is having a ball looking at the dogs, crawling around, and just being the chill and fun baby that she is! I can't believe that tomorrow is her first Christmas! Oh what fun!

Tuesday, December 23

A Typical Day...If You Know What I Mean

Well, Kendall and I have figured out one thing that is for certain living in Africa. When everything works and all is well...WAIT...because in 36-72 hours many things are going to go crazy and break.

So, this week we realized that our toilet is leaking, sink is leaking, and the hot water in the shower drips all night and can't be turned off. Summary: our bathroom is rendered useless until we can get all the parts to fix it because calling someone to fix it means that they will mess it up more or fix it for the time they are here and then it breaks the moment they exit the gate.

Then yesterday, the printer's fuse has burned up or something. This happens right as Kendall was about to print his lesson before he taught. Then as he was hooking everything up to see what was wrong, the power went off! Yup, Kendall took the laptop with him to the bush to teach from, but the battery doesn't last long so he used our AC adapter to plug it in.

On Saturday, the dryer stopped working. Kendall tried everything to get it working again. Since it is the rainy season and it rains everyday and doesn't get dry enough to dry anything it is hard to dry clothes on the line. So yesterday, Kendall goes to look at the plug and the fuse had blown. Thankfully we have stock piled fuses around here and now the dryer works! YAHOO!!

Finally, last night as I was putting Lauren in the tub for her bath I realized that the water was ice cold. I let the water run and run and run and no hot water! In my mind and out of my mouth came "AHHHH what in the this the money pit??" Needless to say, for some reason the geyser (hot water heater) had been tripped and was switched off. Kendall flipped a switch and WAH was fixed!

I know that you all know how it feels to have so many things go wrong in a short period of time but I just feel like some days it is magnified because we don't have Home Depot or 1-800-Handyman to come fix everything. But one thing that I am learning is that God is good and that I am thankful that God is giving Kendall wisdom to learn how to fix the many things that break in our home or need repairs! Last night as I watched the cold water flow from our faucet, it hit me again like so many times before...Joy be thankful for the running water, a roof that doesn't leak, a truck that is fully functioning, a healthy family, electricity, washing machine, dryer healthy family, clothes, food, a bed that doesn't lay on the floor, screens on the windows, and much much more. Then I realized once again, I am blessed and the days in Africa are great although they may be long and full of frustration, I am blessed to be called by God to be here.

Saturday, December 20

Kneading and Creating Family Traditions

Today, we woke up after another LONG night of pouring rain and COLD weather (to us...73 degrees)! So, of course, it was going to be soup and bread day at the Helgren House. I began making my Mama's Spanish Bean Soup at 7:30 a.m. I decided that we MUST have some warm yeast bread to go with this yummy soup! I made the dough and was so nervous because I usually let Zeria do the bread making. As I began to mix the dough the power went out and was out all day. The soup was finished over the braiser (charcoal fire) which was great because slow-cooked soup is so much better! Anyway, I had begun to mix the dough and one of my greatest fears in bread making is the KNEADING! You can over knead or under knead. I read the instructions in my handy cookbook about 35 times before I started it! I kneaded the bread and it rose nicely, I divided it, put it in the fridge, and when the power came back on baked it. It was so good! I was so excited! This is one of the 2 loaves I made, yeah, one is already gone! So, it was a good day and I can't WAIT to be able to teach Lily, Easton, and Lauren how to knead bread!
This is our Christmas tree. I broke the top of it when I was trying to straighten it! It is our Dr. Seuss tree! All of the ornaments are plastic (thanks Mama!) but we had to put it way out of the kids reach because it got pulled down twice before it was all decorated!
Christmas 2008 is our second Christmas in Zambia and we are still making family traditions and I think one tradition is official as of today.
Kendall is amazing at being creative, spontaneous, and really getting into the Christmas spirit. Here in rural Zambia there really is no mention of Christmas (I mean not like America). There are no Christmas trees, lights, or Santa Claus. So our Christmas is very different because it is not commercialized and our home decorations are pretty small. sweet husband has officially out done himself again this year!
Last year he went to the store for milk and came home with a tree, lights, garland and ornaments and we decorated the tree and the house!
This year he decided to collect a large stack of construction paper and make Christmas decorations. You know how your Mom always said that a card you made was better than one you buy?? Well, the same goes for Christmas decorations! Kendall has been working for about 3 hours now and is not finished, but I had to brag on him and share with you all! The kids are going to be SO surprised when they wake up in the morning! The kids and I have to make our decorations tomorrow and the house will be ready for Christmas!
(Oh and on the family schedule tomorrow... watch Polar Express!)

Friday, December 19


Oh boy, today I wished that I had been a little less of a city girl and more of a redneck growing up! My biggest fear is getting stuck in the mud, flipping a car into a ditch, or flooding a car (probably because of our experience prior to being missionaries where our car flooded and Easton was stuck inside). When we moved to Africa, Kendall took me out back and showed me how to lock the tires and drive in 4x4. He said that if I ever thought I would get stuck or couldn't manage to climb a certain terrain that 4x4 would ALWAYS work! He explained H4 (high 4) was best and L4 (low 4) was even better...but you can burn up an engine using it too much. Needless to say, my preference is H4. So yesterday, going to Minga Stop Hospital I pulled over, locked the tires with the pliers, threw it into H4 and I was NOT afraid of mud or deep water puddles! Today, heading out of our gate to the market I was NOT in H4 or any kind of "secure" driving state when I began to make the short 3 kilometer trip to the market!

It rained all night long and the roads here are made of "slippery dirt". Its kinda like driving on an oil slick track. NOT FUN. Needless to say, I prayed a LOT as I slid perpendicular to the road and held the steering wheel tight and drove SLOW! I kept repeating in my mind, I have a shovel if I get stuck, go slow, don't run the tires deeper into the mud, and 4x4 will always help! At this moment 15-20 Zambian men are stopped watching this WHITE woman get herself out of this SLIPPERY situation. They are building a cell tower right next to the place I have slid and I was so nervous that I would slide and hit the piles of rocks or bricks that were lining the road. NICE! Kinda felt like NASCAR African style. Anyway, the adventure was scary, I was shaking when I arrived at the post office and swore that if I had to go to the market again that day, I was walking! I had to go to the market and I walked! I think that in life at times like that you really have to just learn by doing it, but thanks to my sweet husband who taught me about 4x4 and driving on African roads...I SURVIVED!

The things I have learned about driving after heavy rains in Africa

1) Mud is bad, Black Mud is worse, Sand is good.

2) When in doubt, 4x4.

3) Drive slow enough not to slide too much, but not too slow as to get stuck.

4) L4 will burn up an engine, use sparingly.

5)PRAY PRAY PRAY, God is the best pilot anyway!

Tuesday, December 16

Birds and Bathing Lotions

Bathing Lotions
On Saturday we were heading out to Kawere Village and I was packing up some muffins for the road and some other things for the kids when Lily says, "Mama, little girls only swim in their underwear!" I was a little confused but not surprised by the randomness of this statement. I then proceeded to ask several questions. In the end, Lily tells me that only little girls swim in their underwear and that this bottle can only be used by little girls because there is a little girl on it and it is pink and purple! Lily was referring to the Water Babies suntan lotion that we put on them everyday! I laughed and told her that everyone can use that lotion and that little girls swim in bathing suits or in South Africa they call them swim costumes and bathing lotions! Hilarious.
After much debating, Kendall opened the cage that he built in order to let the doves go free. He opened the cage and they did not budge. So, he proceeded to evict the birds with the threat of the broom! They flew out of the cage to the top of our gazebo, then 20 minutes later to our roof. After much contemplation by the birds they decided to "fly the coop" and venture out. We were happy. Then as I was leaving to go to the market, Zeria says, "LOOK AT THE WALL!!" There they were...our new pets. Lily then exclaims.."Swing n bug are back!" Yes...Lily has named the birds Swing and Bug. If you ask her why she named them that she says because Swing likes to swing and Bug likes to eat bugs! Yup...I mean DUH MOM!! Well an hour later, Swing comes back to the carport looking for her cage. Kendall and I move the cage back to the carport so that she could eat and hide out from the incoming rain. So our entertainment around here has increased because Swing flies away for a while and comes back! It is so neat! We don't know if Bug will return but Swing is apart of the family now! More Swing updates later!

3 Crafty Items, 2 Turtle Doves, and a Ooey Gooey Baby

The new wonderful thing to our kids are HOOKS! I gave each of them a white plastic hook to hang their hats, rain jackets, and bags on. WELL...those are old and as I was looking through some of the craft items that I brought from America I found these fun hooks that are shapes, so I decided to decorate them and give them to the children! They love the hooks! Now, we just have to figure out where to hang them!

Well we have 2 more pets to add to the animal farm here in Nyimba. For Kendall's preaching at the Bible School in Petauke we were given as gifts 2 doves to remind us to pray for the new graduates and their churches! Kendall built a cage for them and now he thinks we need to let them go! SOOO, he opened the cage last night and the birds are still here this morning. I guess they like the kids yelling at them and Sophie (one of our dogs) jumping to try and eat them! Oh what fun!

Sweet Lauren's portrait after having a lunch of spaghetti and biter biscuit! YUMMY!

Sunday, December 14

Saturday at Kawere Village

On Saturday, Kendall was invited to preach at a Bible School graduation in Petauke. I decided that we would go with him and spend the day visiting Bertha and her children along with the rest of her family in the village. Lily and Easton were so excited to go see "Berta"! At the village, Easton chased a goat into the next village and figured out for the first time that someone is not always going to follow him! Maybe he will begin to learn perimeters of area! HA! There are a lot of pictures but so fun!

Melvin and Lily had a fun time playing together!
My sweet buddy, Cynthia. She always want to go home with the mzungu (white person)!

Cynthia and Easton don't speak the same language, but they communicate well!

Easton shared his leftover biscuit!

Bertha, Melvin, and Cynthia

Aunt Zeria with her niece and nephew!

The ride home was awfully quiet!

Friday, December 12

Friday, December 12

Today...Lauren decided she wanted to be up at 4:30 a.m. because she doesn't want the neighbor's rooster to be the only one awake and Lauren thinks that I should be awake with her to play! Yup, that is how the day began!
Lily and Easton were soon to follow at 6 a.m.! I was so proud of myself for having breakfast (biscuits and gravy) on the table and ready to eat by 6:30a.m.!
Then the day began full of fun stories and sayings....but the ones that topped the charts were as follows...
Lily was standing in the kitchen as the sun was peering through the window at sundown and she says, "Mama...look! I am standing on the sun pencil!" (a.k.a. sun beam)

At dinner, Kendall was questioning if I knew the word "perception". I told him that I knew what it meant and gave him a definition that pleased him and the conversation was I thought. Lily then chimes in and says..."I know what 'peerseptchun' is.." I then ask her to define the word..."peerseptchun is the contraption that makes little pink flowers grow!" NICE! She would score many points for that one in Balderdash! I laughed so hard! She was precious!

Easton looked at me today and said ..." Zeria's house there is a shnake!" I said..."NO WAY! REALLY?!" And he replies while pointing at the ceiling..."in da rouf!" Kendall still has a hard time understanding Easton and I do sometimes, so we often times have to call Lily in to translate...when she doesn't understand either she just says "I don't know what in the world he is sayin'!"
Fun times in Nyimba! Will fill you in on some other fun stories from this week on Saturday!
Thanks for checking in with us!

Another BLOG!! I KNOW... I KNOW!!!

Hey Family and Friends!
Add this web address to your favorites! This blog is specifically to keep all of you updated with the stories from our house! The kids are just so funny these days and Kendall and I are learning so much about being parents that we just have to share! This blog will be all about our family fun not much about ministry...that is what the other blog is for! So...I hope you all enjoy it! Check back regularly or you may miss something GREAT!!!
Love y'all!