Tuesday, December 23, 2008

3 Christmas Trees to Decorate

Heidi included a cute mini-tree in our Christmas box that she and the others put together and sent. It was fun to decorate it with little red bows. I especially like all the presents under the tree. This is my little handcarved Nigerian nativity set. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here.
We inherited a tree and decorations from a previous missionary couple, and I think it looks pretty cute. We set it up out in the hall because there isn't much room in the livingroom. I may bring it in for Christmas Eve so that Santa will have somewhere to leave my presents!

This is the large tree that we decorated down in the mission office. It has nice fake candy cane ornaments. I tried to buy candy canes here, but I couldn't find a single one. It needs some good big red bows on the top instead of the one lop-sided one that's there, but you work with what you have. I'm too cheap to go and buy anything new. I love to hit the after-Christmas sales to stock up on stuff for the next year. They need to send me back to the U.S.A. to help the sagging economy!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More Apartment Photos - The Kitchen & Utility

This is truly a step-saving kitchen. It is small and compact, but has decent storage and work space (if I keep things put away). It is 3 feet wide between the counters, which isn't bad unless both of us are in the kitchen at the same time. It's a little tight when I have the oven door open, or have to find things in the lower cupboards. Oh I do miss my roll out cupboards!
Kurt washes 99.9% of the dishes! Some dummy architect or contractor specified a single sink with drainboard instead of a double sink. Obviously it was someone who had never washed a dish.
We brought our hand-me-down microwave over from the other apt. rather than have the church buy a new one. I'm glad because it is a smaller model and takes up less space. The stove uses propane, but has one electric burner, just in case you run out of gas. Electric is so slow compared to gas!
One of the great features of this new building was to be the filtered water system. It worked for a few weeks, but last week we all had to put on our old water filters, which means we are back to brushing our teeth in the kitchen. I guess that is not too big of an inconvenience in the scheme of things. The counters are a solid surface type material. I had requested a tan counter to match the tow of tan tiles. We were even shown samples to pick from, but then when we went to see how things turned out, we were surprised with black and gray spots. It looks nice, but if there is going to be a bug anywhere, I want to see it, and they are camouflaged on this surface.
The stack washer and dryer are really nice. One thing that is so great is that the dryer is vented to the outside, so it does not get super hot and humid when I am drying clothes like it did in the old apartment where you could see the mold growing on the walls. We brought the old bookshelf over and it just fits great next to the fridge and gives us lots of extra storage space!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

New Home Sweet Home - Dining & Livingroom

We cleaned things up nice and took pictures of the apartment. Since it is a little on the small side, it gets cluttery fairly fast - especially if you are the cluttery type, which we are. We have a nice built-in hutch which gives us some extra storage space. There are 4 drawers (3 that work) with a cupboard on each side. A company called CMC (Chicago Manufacturing Company) built the furniture. The woman that owns the company, Yinka, lived in Chicago for many years. Our table is 36" square.
It doesn't look all that tiny in this picture because I am standing in the doorway. The Church bosses in Ghana had planned on putting 2 loveseats in the livingroom, but I felt that would be too cramped, so I requested a chair and a loveseat. Boy am I glad. I really like the area rug that they chose for us. The air conditioner is up near the ceiling to the right of the window. That is how the a/c units look here. This one is pretty nice. At our old apartment, when the power went off (10-12 times daily) you had to go and turn the a/c back on. This new one just comes back on when the power returns. Cool deal (punny)
I got to choose the fabric for our furniture. This little flower print just kept calling my name. They love to do the mix and match look here on upholstered furniture, so I let them put a solid seat and pillow. I'm not sure if I like it a lot, but it is too late to change my mind now. They did a funny thing with all of the loveseats and chairs that they made for the building. They stuffed the back pillows way too much. We have all had to unzip the covers and open up the liners and remove the chunked up foam rubber the pillows are stuffed with. They look and feel better now. You can see that Kurt can't really sit comfortably on it at all. He takes the back pillow totally off. I'm shorter, so I don't mind it much.

The wall hanging is a batik made by Ojo. He lives up in Ibadan. It is stuck up on the wall with rolled up pieces of scotch tape. I stuck the clock up on the wall in the hutch with rolled up pieces of duct tape. It held for a couple of weeks, and then came crashing off. The glass smashed into pieces. I taped the back of the clock back on and remounted it with more duct tape. It's not as heavy now, so I think it will stay up this time. The walls are concrete, so you can't just hammer in a little nail to hang things.
I got to draw up the plan for the little entertainment center. I was excited that I got a new flat-screen TV to go with it. We brought our little dining table from the old apt. to use as our computer desk. We used to have a big table, but this one actually works pretty good. Our drapes were custom made by a lady named Winnie. I like them. They are a cream color (very pale yellow) and are the same color as the walls.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Evidence that it's Organically Grown Produce

I never could bring myself to pay extra for organically grown produce in the U.S. Here in Nigeria, I can get organically grown for no extra cost. I'm not sure if it's such a good deal when I sometimes get little critters included. Usually, though, we end up with very tasty goods.

Sisters = Friends

I have only one sister and today is her birthday. Even though we weren't super close growing up because of our age difference (6 years), I consider her to be one of my best friends now. We had such a fun time in March, 2007, when we went to Kona, Hawaii for a week's vacation. It was a girl's only trip. Kurt's sister, Mary, also flew over and met us there. We laughed, shopped, laughed, toured the island, laughed, read books, laughed, dined at some nice restaurants and laughed, etc. Mary has a birthday very soon - January 4th. So happy birthday to a couple of fun friends.Sandy, Linda and Mary at Akaka Falls (near Hilo)
Sandy and Mary getting friendly with the locals.

Happy Birthday Suzette

I found lots of fun pictures of Suzette to share with everyone. They had this taken over a year ago. I've already posted the one taken the same day with the whole family together.
Sorry, Suzette, but I just couldn't resist posting this one! They all posed with a quirky look, and I think hers was the funniest.
Their Disneyland trip and she's on the Teacup ride with the kids. What a mom! This was her Halloween costume this year. She was in the school costume parade with the kids.
Suzette is a great mom to her 3 children. She is a dedicated soccer mom and has even helped coach the kids' teams. She works part time in her profession as a speech pathologist. She loves to read, and we trade books with her. We hope she has a nice stash to loan us when we get home. Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Moving Day

I was not looking forward to moving to the new apartment. I don't think anyone really likes to move, but I felt like I was being "forced out" of my old comfortable surroundings. When we realized that the church only planned to use the moving company to help move President & Sister Jones, we (Kurt) sprang into action.

Here I am wearing my pioneer bonnet as I am being "driven out" to a new apartment.

We emptied off the bookshelf so someone other than us could haul it. We loaded the drawers from our chest of drawers into the trunk and drove them next door. Kurt packed and hauled, up and down the stairs he went, until we had all our food, dishes, clothes, etc, etc. over to the new apartment. Brother Bright helped us a lot. By afternoon we had everything in the new place and I had started putting away.

Most of my reluctance to move was due to the fact that the new apartment is quite small. In fact you could say it is cramped, but nice. It would be great for one person to stay in for the weekend. But then I am a spoiled American. I admit it. The new place is bigger than:

A Shoebox

A Yellow Bus
and much nicer than a tent or a covered wagon. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of those facts so that I can improve my spoiled American bad attitude.

Coming soon - pictures of the new place!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our Christmas Zone Conference in Lagos

This is the Yaba Zone which includes the Yaba, Surulere and Victoria Island wards.
This is our zone - that is why we are in the picture. Our zone leader bought matching red ties.
We had a variety of musical numbers as part of our Christmas program. Our district did the 12 Days of Christmas.
This district performed a skit. It was kind of funny considering this mother & daughter were played by Elder Nwulu and Elder Solomon. They made pretty convincing ladies.
This was another skit. I couldn't understand half of what they were saying, but they all had a good time.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ibadan and Ife Zone Conference

We went to Ibadan with President and Sister Jones on the 1st of December so that we could attend the Zone Conference/Christmas Party with the missionaries that serve up there. Many of them have served down in the Lagos area with us, so it was fun to get to see them all again. December 2nd seems a little early to have a Christmas party, but we are not allowed out on the roads until after Jan. 10 because of security. There are more robberies, police stopping to "check your papers" and expecting some money in return for a quick release. The usual stuff - just lots more of it.
This is the Ibadan zone. The Elders all bought matching ties. They couldn't find enough in a red or green, so they opted for black.
The sisters got matching shirts and wore their suit jackets if they had one. It was probably 95 degrees that day - no jacket for me.
Elder Ohuegbe was our mission secretary, and he is so nice. He was happy to get transferred to Ife and be out of the office. These 4 sisters are in his zone - he was the zone leader. They all bought fabric so they could have matching outfits made. Elder Ohuegbe got called to be the new A.P., and he is back in Lagos. We are all happy to have him back.

More Ibadan Zone Conference

The Ibadan Zone

One apartment in the Ibadan zone had black suits to go with their black ties. Kurt and I referred to them as the "men in black" district. The lighting was bad, and I wasn't close enough to get a good picture. These guys enjoy singing together.
The most popular part of zone conference is the lunch afterwards. Sister Angela always cooks for the Ibadan zone conferences. She is married to Bright, the mission driver. She went all out and fixed them many of their favorite African foods. She started with Peppa (pepper) Soup. I wanted to try it. But it is made with goat intestines, and it was more interesting than appetizing to me. I did try the broth, and it was pretty peppery so that was my excuse to give it to one of the Elders who was very happy to get a second bowl. I also ate a little bit of goat meat that was hooked to some bone. Pepper Soup is served as an appetizer.Angela looked pretty festive in her fancy gold head tie. They use these shiny taffeta type fabrics for special occasions.Other food items were pounded yam, a favorite. It is like a stiff ball of mashed potatoes. It is served cold and wrapped in saran wrap. They eat it by taking bite sized pieces and dipping them in a sauce or "soup". It is eaten with their fingers. Their soup is different from our soup. It can be a gravy with fried smoked fish and green vegetable leaf stuff. That is sort of what Egusi soup is. One bite of that was enough for me. I want to try some of their foods, but I'm not really very open-minded. One thing we tried that we liked was the drink. It is the yellow/red bottle, and it is fruit flavored milk. We brought ours home and chilled it before drinking it. It was peach/apple and was almost like a milk shake. Good, but fattening.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Bloom Where You Are Planted"

OK, so "bloom where you are planted" is a pretty trite and somewhat over-used phrase. But this is the conclusion of my planted flower seeds that all came up weeds. I had one that looked different from the others, so I didn't pull it out. And finally, I was rewarded with a little sunflower. Since it looks like the picture on the package, I'm pretty sure it is the real thing.
Since the sunflowers were doing so great, I decided to plant something else - cherry tomatoes. I planted them on September 1, Labor Day.
Here we are, on Thanksgiving Day, with the fruits of our labor. We have only had 3 tomatoes so far, but they have been tasty. I may try to plant some right in the ground now that we are moved into the new building. It's kind of fun to be able to grow things year round - one fringe benefit to living in Africa

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Kayleigh - A Decade of Smiles

Kayleigh Krupp is 10 years old. I am so grateful for all of my grandchildren. They are all talented, smart and darling. Of course I am a prejudiced grandma! Here are some pictures of Kayleigh.
Kayleigh is an awesome dancer.
She is also a great soccer player.
What a bathing beauty. She went to the ocean with her family when they had their vacation to Disneyland last year.

She had a part in her classes Christmas program. She was the hula-hoop girl. She likes singing in the choir and has a wonderful voice.
That's a lot of hot air in that huge bubble.
Kayleigh has always loved to color, and she is very careful. Here she is using her artistic talent to decorate her little gingerbread house. She loves to read and is an excellent student.
We hope you have a fantastic birthday, Kayleigh!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Kurt Jr.

Our Number One Son, Kurt Jr., is truly a first-rate guy. He has many of his father's wonderful traits. He is a great organizer and a very hard worker. We feel so confident in his and Jeremy's abilities as they take over the business that Kurt started more than 26 years ago.
Kurt enjoys spending time with his family. They are busy with church, soccer and many other activities.
They took a fun, family vacation with Suzette's family down to Southern California in the summer of 2007. I think this was taken at Universal Studios. Kurt Jr. was quite the cartoon watcher as a kid and still loves to watch animated movies. He could tell you the name of this funny guy from the "Cars" movie, but I don't remember.
More vacation photos: Suzette & Kurt Jr. with Tyson, Megan and Kayleigh

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Owen Has a Birthday

Owen Marshall married our youngest child, Haylee. He is a fun addition to our family and a great "support" to Haylee as she finishes her education degree. He is busy working and helping to raise their baby daughter, Miriam.
We all think of Owen when we go to the zoo in Omaha. They have a neat gorilla exhibit named after him - well not really. But it reminds us of him. He and Haylee stopped to visit Alicia and Josh in the fall of 2007.
All his nieces and nephews love him. He is always there to play with them and help at cousin camp or just be a big kid with them.
Miriam definitely loves her big daddy. I think she is starting to look more like him, too. He makes the perfect heated, pillow-top mattress. Happy Birthday to you Owen. We love you and appreciate all you do.