Monday, December 3, 2012

Merry Christmas

We are now in Oregon.  Seth is studying for the GRE.  Tommy is making friends.  Cali is obsessed with shoes and we are spending time as a family.  I am spending time trying to get our addresses together for Christmas cards.  Let me know if you would like one. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Super Hero Missionaries

Nonie brought Thomas some Avenger’s PJs when she came to stay.  They have spurred a huge interest and focus on super heroes.  He talks about them, dresses up as them and invents new ones all of the time.  In conjunction with the PJs, his friend Chris gave him his old Spiderman costume, which Thomas wears almost every day.  It is hilarious to imagine him running around with all of the African kids here - the weird white boy in a Spiderman costume.  The other day he and Ronaldo came out of his room wearing ties.  Upon inquiry I was informed that, “Bernardo and I are going to go teach the kids about Super heroes.”

Thomas was showing us his Tai Kwan Doe moves. 
Seth: “Show us how high you can kick.  Now the other leg.  Now both legs.”
Thomas: “No, I can’t do both legs.  Then I will fall and break my bum skull!”

Seth was reading with Thomas in his bunk bed.  Thomas picked his nose. 
Seth said:  “Thomas don’t pick you nose that is gross.”
Thomas: “On my bed, I allow boogers.”

We grocery shop at a mall called “Arcades”.  Thomas asked me the other day, “Mom, is our cades everyone’s cades?”

Thursday, September 20, 2012


September 20, 2012

Life has been inexplicably weird but then again, so is our son.  So in an effort to feel more normal I am taking an abnormally calm moment that I found today to document some of his relatively recent “Thomasisms”.

My aunt was here helping us out for a couple of weeks.  We call her Nonie.  She has been Nonie for at least twenty years and there has never been a child to suggest an alternate name for her.  One night she was putting Thomas to bed.  He looked up at her with his big lashy eyes and said, “Nonie, I will call you Naan Bread.”  Creative, and how proud am I that my son knows what Naan is!

“Nonie, why are you looking at me like that?”  “Like what?”  “Like perturbed.”


Batman is a big deal to Thomas these days, which is funny since he has never seen a Batman movie.

One morning he woke up and my mom asked him what he had dreamt about. “I dreamed about you grandma. (sigh, adroable)…and batman.”

Alternate reality 
“Tommy, what did you dream about last night?”
“I had a scary dream dad.  I dreamed that my mom and dad got shot by a bad guy.  But then I became batman.”
“Oh, Tommy that is a scary dream, I am sorry.” (Mental note to dispose of new book about Batman that grandma brought)
“No dad it was a good dream because I got to be batman.”
“Oh.” (Over whelming feeling of insignificance and unimportance)

And here is the doosey.  Thomas had his first kiss.  I find this scary, disturbing, hilarious and ironic for many reasons.  But, here are some specifics from the mouth of the maker-outer…

“Her name is Malulu, she is African.  She kept saying she wanted to kiss me, kiss me, kiss me, kiss me.  There is another boy that loves the girl but the girl doesn’t love him, she loves me.  He thinks that she loves him but she doesn’t.  She asked me to kiss her because one day when I was going down the slide.  I jumped on the top and did sixty-seven flips down to the ground and now she liked me.”

“Where did you kiss her? “ I ask.
“It was a nice and quiet place.”

We had a long discussion about how we don’t kiss people on the lips until we are grown up.  And all the things a parent should and would say in this situation.  We made particular mention and instruction as to the fact that knights only kiss fair ladies on the hand…ONLY.  He insisted he needed to wear a bow tie to school so he could kiss Malulu on the hand. 

The result of instruction and costuming: 
“Did you kiss Malulu on the hand only today?”
“No, I did all three places.”
“She said I had to kiss her on her hand, cheek and lips and then she said she would be my girl friend.”

Insert lengthy conversation about not having a girlfriend until you are much, much older.

“But mom, Malulu is my teacher’s kid.”
“Ah, so you are worried about your academic future and the Dream Montessori Kindergarten” and the consequences of a spoiled liaison with your teacher’s daughter.”

One more story…regarding Bernardo, Ronaldo, Nard dog…Tommy’s best friend.
Upon my return to Zambia I asked if his mother had had her baby. 
“Oh that is so exciting.  Is it a boy or a girl?”
“Wow, a baby brother, just like you wanted!  What is his name?”
“Oh he doesn’t have a name yet?”
“No, Nothin’.”
(Light bulb) “Oh, Nathan!  His name is Nathan!”
(Silent laughing for at least an hour.  This seems to be a theme with this family: names that are seriously mistaken by non-Zambian English speakers.)

And, because I prefer blog posts with pictures I give you....Cali Ann.  Pictures of her give my soul bumps, bruises, scars, bandages or braces...just a bumbling baby girl with one small dent on the side of her forehead.  I am continually amazed that she is so unscathed from it all.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Male Nurse

I feel so grateful every time I get to send one of the car accident "victims" home.  it feels like they are safe and sound in the known comforts of home.  But I also feel selfishly bummed out. 

So here is an ode to Seth Wiggins for being the number one male nurse ever.  When we were making the decision of who should go with Seth on the flight from Harare to Johannesburg my heart was just broken.  I didn't want to leave my husband but I couldn't leave my little sister and one of my children (Insurance would only allow one child to go with me).  Wiggins stepped up knowing it could be weeks or more before he could go home. 

He fed, bathed, entertained and cared for Seth.  He explained doctor's conversations to me.  He fielded phone calls and dealt with insurance companies.  He held babies as they screamed, as they had stitches removed and as they needed some love.  He changed diapers, cleaned up puke and chauffeured.  And he only dropped Cali once. 

Seth Wiggins, thank you for being our friend.  Thomas, in one of his may fits last night, suddenly lost it and said, "Mom, I didn't get to say goodbye to the Wiggins. I miss him."  We all do! 


I am not at the top of my game for obvious reasons.  However, I have some pretty incredible sisters who are.  They are maintaining a blog of our adventures in African healthcare.  Check here for updates.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Baby Sister

Goodbye baby sister, I am so glad I was able to put you on a plane today to send you home where you will be safe and comfortable.

Thank you for visiting me in Africa.  I hope you remember the awesome things about it, like seeing the Big 5, teaching the kids at Tionge School, tracting in N'Gombe compound, playing with Thomas and Cali, working on our "forehand" frisbee throw, baking delicous rolls all the time, nice cream and our fifteen minutes of shopping at the mall.

I hope these cool things are not overshadowed by the 12 days you spent in the Hospital, the 11 stitches on your legs, the two surgeries you underwent, the one time a male nurse bathed you, ect.  Yeah, those things were pretty lame...but you will have serious street credibility the rest of your life and at least one Zimbabwean prince ready and willing to marry you.

I love you so much baby Katie.

PS.  I am so glad mom did not find the above pictured terrible jumper to send to me in your suitcase.  You should keep that one for your babies.

And how are you?

..."fine" I say with tear filled eyes.  But I am not "fine" and this is not "fine". The nurses (sisters) are very kind in their inquires after Seth's well-being.  He is a favorite at the hospital is seems but when they ask me how I am I just want to scream.  Yes, the pendulum of emotions has swung again.  I go from numb, to grateful, to hopeful, to distraught, to sad, to punch-face angry!

I look at my beautiful little boy with huge scars on his perfect head and my little girl with large welts.  Then I watch my husband walk his fingers across his chest like he is playing itsy-bitsy spider to pick up his spaghetti spoon so he can scratch his ear. I am grateful that things are as good as they are, that we are alive, that we will recover but we will never be the same and my heart aches and painful, angry tears burn my eyes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It is what it is, and its a miracle

Many of you are aware that we had an awful car accident in Zimbabwe last Saturday on our way to Mozambique for holiday.  There are a few accounts of the actual event and the consequential injuries floating around...facebook, I think there is another blog, ect.  I am sure if you look at those you will get the general idea of what happened.  I might write about it all at some point, but not today.

Seth, was severely injured.  The doctor told me yesterday that he was within millimeters of paralysis and death.  We are not out of the woods in regards to his neck and back injuries but we have a lot of hope.  He is making progress daily.  I have been so inspired by his faith, his love, his attitude through out all of this.  He has been merciful, compassionate and grateful toward everyone involved and the situation in general.  If someone makes a comment like "what an unlucky holiday".  He replies, "I am the luckiest man alive."  The other day he said, "it is what it is and its a miracle."  That is true.

So many of you have been so kind in offering help of any kind.  We have been so greatful for your prayers and love and feel them working quite literally.  I am sure we will need a lot more help in the coming months.  Currently we have received and are receiving a lot of help from members of our Church.  They have been amazingly compassionate and proactive.  We don't have a lot of concrete information now so it is difficult to know what kind of help we need just now.  But there is one thing that I know means so much to us all, especially Seth.  That is your letters of support and love.  If you have a moment to write a note to him it will be cherished.

Thank you all so much.  Love, the Sherry Jrs. alive and kicking...barely :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Rhinos!

As I mentioned, the Seth’s watched the kids while Katie and I went to Botswana.
When we arrived home late that evening, it was dark already, dinner was made and Cali was asleep.  The Seth’s began to tell us about their amazing day including a Rhino sighting!  I was so stoked!  There are only eight Rhinos in Zambia.  They are all in the Musuo tunya park right next to the Falls.  They are also all under twenty-four hour machine-gunned guard. I asked how/where they saw them hoping to maybe repeat the experience the next day.  Here is how you get to see a Zambian white Rhino:  you enter the gate and drive along the river to the far end of the park - about fifteen to twenty minute drive.  Then you ask the guards to see the Rhinos.  They make a long, shifty speech about how they are going to bend the law and not break it and ask you to support them (monetarily).  Then one of the guards hops in the car and makes a series of phone calls to locate the Rhinos.  He tells you were to drive.  You park and they walk you right up next to the huge animals.

The next day when Katie and I were trying to replicate the Rhino sighting we had Thomas as our guide.  He kept saying, “No, mom, you have to go all the way to where there are green benches and then we will find Sam the guard.”  We get to the green benches and there are no guards to be seen.  So we sit and eat an orange.  In the meantime two huge buses of people roll up.  Out hops one of the Rhino guards.  He makes his way toward us to offer his “rule bending” services.

Victoria Falls

Our time in Livingstone was broken up in the following manner. 
Day 1 - Stay at a Lodge in Choma. 
Day 2- arrive in Livingstone, set up camp at the Waterfront Lodge, watch fellow camper’s campsite be pilfered by rouge, vervet monkeys, take a shower at Victoria Falls, battle baboons and walk across the bridge to Zimbabwe. 
Day 3 - Caroline and Katie go to Chobe National Park in Botswana, Seth and Seth watch Cali and Thomas. 
Day 4 - Seth and Seth go to Chobe National Park, Caroline and Katie watch Thomas and Cali. 
Day 5 - trip to the falls, attempt to buy souvenirs at the curios market and then drive six hours home.

 Seth and the baboon shared a snack.

Katie and I had an amazing time in Chobe.  Botswana seems drier than Zambia.  Also a friend of ours described the comparison of game viewing in Zambia and Botswana in the following way:  "Zambia is like cross-country skiing, beautiful but slow.  Chobe is like down hill skiing, the animals are everywhere.I definitely felt that was the case!  We saw more hippo and elephant than I can count, a ton of giraffe and even the coveted lion!

We hiked down to the boiling pot - the base of the falls.