Where in the world?

11.29.2010

It's hard to believe that we are coming up on 8 months in Africa. In some ways the time has flown by, yet it sometimes feels like time is standing still. It's been quite the adventure but I know we will both be ready to move on when the time comes, which should be sometime next summer. The best part about this program is that we get to live in two different countries for a total of three years.

Although we have no idea where we'll be going, we've been asked to put together a "wishlist" of choices. If you know anything about the Marine Corps, you know that the list probably doesn't really mean anything and we won't end up anywhere we pick, but it's still fun to dream. As I was going through the list of possible choices (over 135 of them)I was completely overwhelmed. How do you choose where you want to live among a hundred different foreign cities? I decided the best thing to do would be to think about what kind of place I would like to live and then narrow it down from there. If I could choose the ideal place for our next post it would have:


a house with a decent sized yard ( a pool would be nice too) We are planning on taking Oscar and Grace with us to our next post. I really hope we don't get a post where the embassy housing is apartments. I can't imagine walking the two little monsters AND pushing a baby stroller! We would actually be thrilled if we could get a house and yard similiar to the one we're in now. I know the dogs would LOVE it!

a safe neighborhood where we could safely walk day and night (without being stared at)


coffee shops, restaurants, and boutiques nearby

close proximity to the beach or some large body of water


natural beauty/landscape- We love the beautiful flowers, trees, and plants here and would love to go somewhere with just as much natural beauty

easy travel back to the US- from where we are now it would take us over 25 hours to get home!

different seasons- This sounds silly but I miss having seasons. I do love the tropical weather we have here but I think I would prefer to see some change in the weather throughout the year. That being said- I don't want to live somewhere that is freezing cold!

real grocery stores- enough said! :)

nearby travel/tourist destinations- although it might be hard with an infant, we really want to see as much as we can while we are overseas

stuff to do- movies, bowling, theatre, etc.

a fun and friendly embassy community (it will be hard to beat the one here)



Looking back at my list I guess I sound pretty picky. The truth is, we will be happy no matter where we are, but it would be nice to have a few of the "perks" I've listed. We've got a while before we find out where in the world we'll be next, but it sure is fun to dream.

On that note, if you could pick any capital city in the world to live for a year and a half, what would you pick and why? I'd love some input!

P.S. I'm joining in on the Military Monday Blog Hop. If you're interested in finding other fun blogs that are military related, be sure and check it out!
military monday blog hop

Thanksgiving Success

11.26.2010

One 10 lbs turkey imported from South Africa
$80.00

2 gallons of vegetable oil purchased at the local market
70,000 FBU ($56.00 USD)

One fire extinguisher in case of emergency
$50.00

Having turkey on Thanksgiving in a country where turkey is pretty much impossible to find:

PRICELESS!!!

I am happy to report that our first turkey day in Africa was a success! We had to be creative and maybe even a little innovative, but everything came out perfectly and we had a wonderful day filled with delicious food and great friends.

It's tradition in the Lynch family to fry the turkey on Thanksgiving. We were determined to do it this year too, even though we didn't have a turkey, a turkey fryer, or any of the tools we needed.
Luckily, we were able to order a turkey from an import company in South Africa. It was definitely the most expensive little turkey we've ever bought, but it was well worth every penny. A friend in our group also ordered a turkey- so we ended up with two. It was the perfect amount of food for everyone.
We were also able to make do without the turkey fryer- Jesse used the next best thing: the stove!
Remember what I said about lacking the tools we needed? Most turkey fryers come with a special holder that is used to lower the turkey into the oil. Since we didn't have that, Jesse fashioned his own- out of a coathanger!
While Jesse slaved a way over the stove, I did a little baking/cooking of my own.
I made green bean cassrole- so easy, yet so delicious!
 I also made the Praline Cheesecake Bars that I talked about in my last post. These bars were sinfully delicious! This recipe is going in to my "must make again" file!
Of course, Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without pumpkin pie and I did make one, but I just can't share the pictures. It was my first time making crust and although it tasted great, it wasn't the most beautiful. :)
When it was time to eat, we sat down to a table full of yummy dishes. It's so much fun to do a potluck style Thanksgiving because you get to taste everyone's cooking.

Even though it was 90 plus degrees outside and we are thousands of miles away from home, we had one of the best Thanksgivings ever. It just goes to show that anything is possible with a little imagination, good food, and great friends.
We truly have so much to be thankful for this year and yesterday was definitely proof of that.


I'm Loving Lots This Wednesday!

11.24.2010

I have been such a terrible blogger lately. I blame it on the slow internet and my laziness! I'm hoping that joining Jamie in WILW will get me back on track!

I'm loving that tomorrow is Thanksgiving! We have so, so much to be thankful for! We're getting together with the Marines and a bunch of friends so I think it will be fun. I found a few wonderful dessert recipes- I can't decide which one I'm going to make!




I'm loving the awesome sale that Old Navy and Gap had on Monday. I got tons of cute maternity clothes! I am so excited! A lot of it won't fit right now but I know I'll love having fun choices when my bump gets bigger.
Belted Cardigan
 
Boot Cut Jeans

I'm loving all the fun sales that are coming up on Black Friday. Unfortunately, I won't be able to hit up any stores in person but I will definitely be shopping online. 40 percent off at The Limited? Yes please! I have my eye on a few things- I need some jewelry to go with my Old Navy/Gap purchases :)



I'm loving that I got to talk to a dear friend last night for the first time since we've been here. It was so awesome to hear her voice! I miss everyone in NC so much!

I'm loving that our little Glee group finished the first season of Glee last night. It was sooo good- we loved all of the Journey songs. But the best part is we discovered that we can download the newest season's episodes on Itunes right after they air! That means we won't have to wait for the whole season to come out  on DVD. This may not sound like much but when you are in the middle of Africa it is earth shattering. We are so pumped! :)

What are YOU loving this week?

My Bump, My Bump, My Lovely Baby Bump

11.19.2010

Check it out! :)
I've been such a slacker about blogging this week. I'd like to say sorry to my loyal followers- all 29 of you! :) I have a few posts in the works so definitely check back over the next few days. Until then, it's time for a "bump" date. I'll try not to bore you with these every week but I have to admit I'm pretty stinkin' excited and I love sharing all of the milestones with you. :)

They say first time Moms don't show very quickly but I feel like my bump is growing pretty rapidly! It's crazy because I know the baby is teeny tiny- so where is this bump coming from?
(P.S.- Yes- I am wearing the same outfit as the last picture. I've been wearing it for pictures each week so that I can see the difference as I grow.)

Pregnancy Highlights: 12 weeks 2 days


Size of baby: The baby is about the size of a lime (2 inches) and weighs about half an ounce.



Movement: This week the baby will squirm in response to someone poking my abdomen. I still can't feel anything but I can't wait until I can!

Gender: Jesse and I have been thinking boy from the beginning. I can't wait to find out.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Gained 2-3 lbs (fluctuates day to day)

Maternity Clothes: I finally wore low-rise maternity jeans from Old Navy. Love them! They are so comfy but they do stretch out during wear so they are too big by the end of the day. BUT- at the rate I'm growing they'll be perfect in no time. :)

Sleep: I go to bed early every  night- I love my sleep.

What I miss: Nothing that I can think of right now

Cravings: bagels (Too bad they don't sell them here. I guess I'll do without my craving for a few more months.)

Symptoms: This has been the best week yet. I haven't been sick in two days. Woohoo! Other than heartburn, I haven't had too many symptoms over the last few days.

Best Moment this week: We finally got to hear the heartbeat on the doppler. We tried last week and couldn't find it. It was such a relief to hear that little heart beating at 180 bpm.

Baby Purchases: None yet but I have definitely been looking. Once we know what we're having, I will definitely start buying stuff,but the real shopping spree will begin when I get to Texas. I can't wait! :)

The God Box

11.11.2010

Remember in an earlier post when I mentioned that I'm a worrier? My worries range from the most mundane things- like what I'm going to wear each day- to more serious things like the health and safety of my family. For my favorite Bible quote I listed Phillipians 4:6-7, which tells us to give all of our worries to God. While I do try to follow this, I have to admit that I'm not always sucessful. That's where The God Box comes in. In order to understand the true meaning behind The God Box, read this awesome story from Real Simple:

Inside the God Box

If you don't have time to read the story right now, here's The God Box in a nutshell. (Though it's a beautiful story so definitely read it when you have time!) Basically, you write down your worries, pray about them, and then put them in a box. Once you've done that, you've committed to putting it in God's hands and to stop worrying. It's such a simple idea- yet so powerful at the same time. I love the idea so much that I've decided to start a God Box of my own- though I think I'm going to call it The Prayer Box. For now, I'll just use a shoebox or a small basket, but eventually I'll upgrade to something nicer or maybe I'll even decorate the box myself. I guess if I'm anything like the wonderful lady in the story, I'll need several boxes over the years. I can't wait to get started. :)

Do you do anything similar to the God Box? Perhaps a prayer journal? I'd love to hear about it!

What I'm Loving Wednesday

11.10.2010

I'm joining in with Jamie again for What I'm Loving Wednesday. Check out her blog here and read what everyone else is loving.

I'm loving that it is the 235th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps- the greatest fighting force in the world. Ronald Reagan said it best, "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
Happy Birthday Marines!

I'm loving that I'm 11 weeks pregnant today and I'm finally starting to feel a little bit better. Only a few more weeks until the 2nd Trimester. Woohoo! :)

I'm loving that tomorrow is a holiday for two reasons: no work and the celebration of all our wonderful veterans. I can't wait to sleep in!

I'm loving that I got a whole stack of magazines in the mail yesterday. People, Cosmo, and Real Simple here I come. I've been kind of bored lately so I'm excited to have some fun distractions.

I'm loving this jewelry from Stella & Dot. I haven't bought anything from them yet but I am definitely tempted.






Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope it's a good one!

Blog Challenge Day 28-29- I wish

11.08.2010

I can't believe tomorrow is the last day of the blog challenge. The last 29 days have flown by! Today I am combining two days- Day 28 and Day 29.

Day 29- Three Wishes

I wish for our baby to be born healthy and for us to be the best parents that we can be.

I wish I could go to the States for a visit right about now. :)

I wish for the health/safety of all of my loved ones and for the safe return of all of our friends/family members that are currently deployed.


Day 28- Things That Stress Me Out
I try really hard not to let things stress me out. That being said, there are certain things that get to me!

-my pregnancy
Stress is definitely not good during pregnancy but I have to admit that I'm a worrier. I pray constantly that everything is going well with the pregnancy and that our little Lynch will be born full term and healthy.

-rude people
It especially annoys me when it is someone in a customer service position and they act annoyed to be doing their job.

-traffic
 Especially the crazy drivers and lack of laws here. Thank goodness I don't drive here!

-my weight/fitness
Obviously this is not an issue at the moment because weight gain is good. :) But in regular circumstances I stress about my weight/fitness all the time. (Please tell me I'm not the only one!)

-money
I don't stress about money but I do constantly evaluate our budget to ensure that we are saving/investing enough to meet our goals. That' where mint.com comes in handy. :)

-the future
I'd love to know where we are going next!

I think that about covers it. What do you stress about?

Fa la la la la la la la- It's Christmas card time!

11.07.2010

I LOVE sending out photo Christmas cards. Every year I spend hours looking through all of the options untill I find the perfect card. Then I force Jesse, Oscar, and Gracie to take part in a "photo shoot" until we get a picture that is just right. :)

This year I am super excited because Shutterfly is offering an excellent deal for bloggers. They are offering 50 FREE holiday cards for blogging about their products! Yay! This is easy to do because all of their cards are awesome. If you're a blogger and you're interested in taking part, go here. If you are not a blogger, do not fear- you can still get beautiful Shutterfly cards at 20 percent off! This is a great deal considering how reasonable their prices are to begin with.

Since finding out about the promotion, I've been browsing their site looking for the perfect card. I started with their photo Christmas cards. These are some of my favorites:




I also love their Christian Christmas cards. They are so elegant, yet simple and they remind us of the real reason for the season. These are my top three:




My favorite though, are some that I have never seen before: Story Cards. They're so cute because they give you room for pictures and words to recap your year. I think I'm leaning toward one of these:



The problem is I love them all and I don't know how I'll ever pick one. Do you have a favorite?

Blog Challenge Day 27- Pets

11.06.2010

If you know me personally or you have read my blog you have probably figured out that I'm obsessed with my pets.

Oscar
Oscar was our first baby. We got him on January 7, 2001- just a few months after we got married. I had been wanting a dog for a few months but we hadn't been able to find one that we liked. We went to the Animal Shelter in Jacksonville several times, but none of the dogs seemed right for us- until we spotted this guy. I couldn't believe that he was at the shelter because he was so cute. We knew right away that he was the one for us. When we were getting ready to leave the shelter workers told us that the shelter manager had taken a liking to him and had kept him around longer than he was supposed to- almost 2 weeks past the day they found him as a stray. We couldn't believe that we had found the perfect dog and possibly saved his life. We threw around names for a week or two but finally settled on Oscar. It's the perfect name for him because he loves to gripe and grouch. He's smart, but incredibly stubborn, and ocassionally gets into trouble. I love him to pieces and I'm counting down until I get to see him again.


Gracie

We got Gracie for Christmas in 2005. We were home visiting our family in Texas and we searched high and low for a schnauzer puppy. When we finally found here I was instantly in love. She was so tiny and just so adorable. She immediately settled right into our family- though Oscar wasn't sure what to think at first. She even made the long car ride back to North Carolina with no problems. She is a true little princess and loves to be cuddled and held. Wherever I am, you can usually find her one step behind. She's also a sneaky little thing. She's the little one so she learned how to get away with things and get her big brother in trouble- including getting into the trash can. We always thought she was too small to reach and blamed it on Oscar until we finally caught her red-handed. We've learned not to let her cute little face fool us. She's my little baby and I miss her so much.

I found a video of them on my computer today. Of course,  I cried while I watched it. I don't think I realized just how sad we'd be without them.  I tried to upload it but after 45 minutes it still wasn't complete. :( Gotta love the slooow internet. Oh well, maybe next time!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!



"Bump"date 10 Weeks

11.05.2010

Today I am 10 weeks and 2 days pregnant!!! Only 29 weeks and 5 days to go! :)

(Not the best picture but it definitely shows "the bump!" I think I look pretty big for 10 weeks so it will be interesting to see how I grow over the next few months.)

Pregnancy Highlights:

Size of baby: The baby is about the size of a prune (1.5-2 inches) and weighs about as much as 4 paperclips (4 grams).


Movement: According to the books, the baby is able to move his/her limbs, somersault, and tumble.Of course I can't feel any of that yet, but we did see it on the ultrasound last week.
Gender: We have a long way to go before we know. Any guesses out there?

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Gained 1 lb (Though I feel like I look like I've gained about 10!)

Maternity Clothes: Not yet but I'm definitely tempted. The problem is my clothes are getting too tight and maternity clothes are too big. This would be a really handy time to have a mall (or even a Wal-Mart) nearby!

Sleep: I'm tired ALL the time! I try to avoid napping in the afternoon so that I can sleep at night though.

What I miss: Coffee!!! I did just get some decaf so I'll probably try it in the next few days.

Cravings: Potatoes

Symptons: The morning (all day) sickness has been killing me for the past 4 weeks. I'm counting down until the end of the first trimester and praying that it goes away.

Best Moment this week: The baby is no longer an embryo and has officially become a fetus! Yay! :)

 Baby Purchases: I haven't bought anything yet but Mimi (my mom) sent these adorable booties a few weeks ago. I can't wait to see which color we will get to use!

Blog Challenge Days 25 iPOD shuffle

11.04.2010

I love this one! My playlist is completely random and full of all kinds of different music so I was curious to see what would pop up. Here are my first 10 songs on shuffle:

Kristofferson    Tim McGraw
Time after Time   Cyndi Lauper
Hanging By A Moment   Lifehouse
I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues Elton John
Smack That   Akon
Crazy    Aerosmith
Push Matchbox 20
You Look So Good In Love George Strait
We Be Jammin    Bob Marley
Everytime Britney Spears  

Can you guess my favorite from this list?

What I'm Loving Wednesday

11.03.2010

It's another wonderful Wednesday which means I'm linking up with Jamie for What I'm Loving Wednesday! I'm excited because I'm loving so many things this week.

I'm loving that I won my very first blog giveaway from Lyndsie Gives Away. I never win anything so I was beyond excited when I found out I won. The best part- the giveaway is for a monogrammed onesie from this adorable Etsy store, Freckled Pink. I love anything monogrammed- especially when it's baby related. Check out these adorable options:





I can't wait to pick one out!

I'm loving our awesome neighbors Kevin and Carol for the wonderful care package we received from them yesterday. It was stuffed full of our favorites: chips, chocolate, and Costa Rican coffee. Need I say more? We love you guys and miss you so much!

I'm loving that I've found some awesome blogs through the 30 Day Blog Challenge and I've gained some new followers! Yay!!!

I'm loving these adorable necklaces and pins from No Plain T's. There are so many cute choices but I finallly decided on these two. I can't wait to get them!




Flower Swirl Necklace (I got this one in a silvery gray!)

I'm loving that it's November. There are so many fun things coming up: The Marine Corps Ball, Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Christmas season. I know Christmas will be different here but I'm so excited to put up our tree and decorate the house.

And finally, I'm loving how much God has blessed us. Life is so good and I am SO thankful!

What are you loving this week?
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