Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Beach Trip

While I was in Uganda, Jeremy and the girls headed to the beach.  They really suffered while I was gone:)

Here's Papaw with his girls
All the girls minus me and Deese...
We've discovered a fun new hang out at the beach, the sand bar.  We've wanted to go before but didn't have a boat big enough to take all of us.  Papaw stumbled upon one:)  So they had a blast at the sand bar!
The water is calm and in the mornings when the tide is out, you can walk all the way to the other side.
To say my kids LOVE to ride the boat is an understatement!
They even saw lots of porpoises!  Look how close this one is.

Wow LaLa got them all to smile so sweetly:)
Reesee and Papaw
Aunt Abbie, a crowd favorite

So precious.
I am guessing Piper went tubing:)  I haven't heard this story yet
One of the highlights for the girls at the beach is the daily bike rides.  Nanny always takes them on at least one.  Looks like it was a full family affair on this day...

Love this one.
I'd say they had a fun week!  And their Daddy took the WHOLE week off with them.  He rarely gets to do that.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gracie's First Day!

Our Firstborn's First Day of First Grade!!

Gracie Girl started school last Monday at Liberty Prep.  She was so excited to go!  Sometimes she was quiet about it, other times she couldn't wait for the first day.  Jeremy took her to orientation the week before (I was in bed with a migraine) and she didn't say two words to him, in the car or at the school.  So we weren't sure how her first day would go.
She got up, got dressed, made sure mommy made her lunch properly, and then she was ready to go!

She picked out this Kai-Lan book bag
My first school lunch:)

Gracie is sitting with her class in the chapel.  She was pretty quiet at this point.
There are eight kids in her class.
Daddy went over to kiss her goodbye.  
Here they to class!  I got a little teary eyed at this point.

Now that we have the first week under our belt I'd say it's been a success!  Gracie really enjoyed it!  She's up and ready each morning without me waking her.  I take her and Ellie to school and Kim picks them up.  So far, she's come home smiling each day:)  When I ask her what she's learned, she tells me "the world."  Finally on Friday I realized she really was serious, they've been studying the world map:)  She seems to be making friends and she even gets to see Ellie at lunch and recess.  On the afternoon before our homeschool days (Tues and Thurs afternoons) she wants to do her work right away.  So we don't even have anything to do on the homeschool days:) I am sure that will change before long.  We'll probably get more work.

How is the Mommy doing?  To be honest, I feel really incomplete during the day.  Like a piece of me is missing! I can't wait to see her little face in the afternoons!  But I feel we definitely made the right decision.  

Piper is a little beside herself.  After we dropped G off the first day, Jeremy looked back and she was sitting with her arms crossed, head down, and her lip poked out to China.  He asked her what was wrong and she said,  "I don't have anybody to play with."  She must have asked me that day ten times, "What can I do Mom?"  And she had several potty accidents:(  Poor girl.  Tuesday when we dropped the girls off, she cried.  But Thursday she did well.  I think we're getting somewhere.  I've enjoyed spending time with her.

She came home with her weekly progress report on Thursday and she got "excellent" on all three categories:)  It said she had a great attitude and that she worked well and independently. We are grateful!

I went to get the mail today and there was a postcard for Gracie from her teacher:)  It said she was so excited to be her teacher and that she enjoyed their first week together.  So. Sweet!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Don't give up!

Don't give up on me!  I will be back to posting.  It's been a rough week technology wise:(  I shattered my camera lens at the beginning of the week and my hard drive died on my computer on Thursday.  I got a new hard drive, (thank God for apple care!) but I've lost ALL my data from June 23rd on.  Yep, Ab's wedding, all my Uganda pictures, Reese's first birthday, Although I've shed some tears, God is faithful.  Lauren and Kim take pictures as much as I do.  So Lauren has some from Reese's birthday and Kim said I could use hers from Uganda.  And I've laughed many times looking through her pictures because we photograph very similarly.  So all is not lost, even though it feels like it.  I am grateful I was blogging while I was in Uganda too, cause most of it is already on here.

I definitely have more to post.  So I am trying to get my computer back up and running and then I'll be borrowing and sorting through pics:)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Feeding Program

Sorry for a lapse in posting, the last few days I've been in bed with migraines.

On our last weekend in Uganda, we went to Jinga to help with a feeding program...
These pictures are of the Nile River
This is main street in Jinga....Soooo much quieter than Kampala

Every Saturday 200 kids come to this little plot of land, where they are fed. It is absolutely beautiful up here! Amazima ministries is in charge. Wow. I LOVE what they do. They aren't fans of orphanages, they instead, support kids so they can go to school and still live at home with their parents. The ministry did a little experiment to see how much serving meat to the kids would improve their school performance. And they found that one meal a week that contained meat increased their scores by 30%! So every Saturday they come here to worship, play, and eat meat!

Here they are worshipping...
This is the amazing Katie! I've been reading her blog for about a year now and to get to meet her was pretty neat! This girl came to Uganda three years ago at the age of 19 and never left! She has adopted all these girls you see in this picture plus some more. She has 13 children in all!! And yes, she's like 21. This project, to feed all these kids, is part of her work, which she does through Amazima. I wish I had a whole day to spend just walking and talking with her. Please click on her name and go read her blog!
Kim, Christi, and I had the privilege of helping serve the kids their meal. On the ground there are green bags that go home to each family. There's food in there and soap, enough to last them for the week.
This is Esther. I carried her around all day:)

This is a playground the ministry is building. Several young men who dropped out of school are building it and they are doing an amazing job! They will get credit for it to hopefully help them get jobs. They planned it out and executed it, they're almost done!

This house is where they cook the food. This whole place is pretty self sustainable. To the right is where the groundskeeper lives with his family. Back to the Uganda women often suffer from respiratory problems due to cooking over an open flame. So here, they have vented the cooking area so the women are protected.
Okay, now to feed 200 kids! Can you see how big that pot is?
The lady leaning over it gives you some perspective. They were HUGE!!

I was the bean scooper

Interesting story time...Remember that everything in Uganda is corrupt. Police, government, military, you name it, it's corrupt here. When we left Jinga and were heading back over the bridge, we took pictures of the Nile. When we got to the other side of the bridge the soldiers pulled us over. They made us get out of the car and they started talking about how we shouldn't be taking pictures of the water. They made us get back in the car and drive over to their little camp. Then they took our Driver and put him in one of their huts and talked to him. Pretty much, they were trying to get money from him. Then they came back over to the car and made each one of us get out and show them what we took pictures of. They tried to tell us there were terrorist concerns with us taking pictures of the water, bridge, etc... They made one of the girls delete a few pictures and then made me go through my camera. But I had taken enough pics that covered up what they wanted, so they let me get back in the car. Then they start lecturing us about taking pictures and said, "There is a fine, will you pay it?" We said "No." And that was it, they let us go. Grrrr, so disgustingly corrupt! There were no problems taking pics of the bridge and water, they just wanted to see if we were stupid enough to pay them.

Anyway, it was another fun day loving on God's children and basking in His glory!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meet Madison Ruth!

Meet Madison Ruth! This little sweetie pie is the newest addition to the Balts family. I wasn't able to blog about her before we got the visa, just to make sure there weren't any kinks. There's no way to tell who's reading the blogs. And weird things have happened for other people. But NOW she's HOME! So we can talk about her!

She is a spunky little girl. Their best guess is that she's around 18 months old. She talks really well and she's a smart cookie.

I had to bring her lots of goodies.
This is the first time she let me hold her:) awwwhhh it was so sweet. She is quite cuddly and I got lots of cuddles after this picture:)

She has a GREAT smile!
She'll sleep anywhere...
On the last day, I got to babysit her while Kim went to get the visa. She babbled the whole time! It was too cute.
Love the tongue!

WELCOME HOME Madison Ruth! We love you cutie pie!!


The day we got home from Africa, my baby turned ONE! What?!!

I took her in this week for her one year check-up and here are her stats:
Weight- 22lbs 4ozs which is in the 70%
Length- 30.5 inches which is in the 90%

We went to dinner after my family picked me up at the airport and Nanny stopped for a cake for Reese:)

She has changed SO much since I left just three weeks ago. Here are her new tricks and she wasn't doing any of them when I left: She holds her hands over her head when you ask her how big she is. Papaw taught her that one:)
She is crawling
She's into everything
She is squealing like crazy. I have started teaching her to sign since I've been back:)
She is eating three meals a day like the rest of us
She has drastically cut back on her bottles
She plays in the playroom with the big girls...precious
She dropped a nap (I haven't forgiven Jeremy for this one yet)
She is developing quite the personality! When I left she was pretty quiet and just hung out. Now she is spunky and loud...a true Gibson Girl.
She says "bye-bye" "hey"
The girls point at her and she points back with her chubby little finger. (That one is adorable)

I have no idea why all these pictures are blurry...sorry:(

"How Big is Reese?"
"Soooo Big"
She melts me with that smile
See....eating big girl food and she drank out of a straw for the first time at her birthday dinner.
We were singing to her

She did not like the icing! Strange girl:)
Actually she didn't really eat any of the cake. We'll see how she does at her birthday party next weekend.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Reesee girl! You've brought more joy to our lives than we could have possibly imagined.