Sunday, May 30, 2010

24 Hours = $240

Tomorrow, a moving truck takes our stuff away from our house in Honduras. Tomorrow begins our exit from this beautiful country. We actually will be flying out on Friday morning, and will use the final days here in Honduras to wrap up loose ends.

I've been giving a lot of thought to our conversation with Belkis that will take place this week. I'm beyond proud of the $760 our readers have contributed for Stephanie's scholarship. I truly believe this will change her life. I'm excited for the conversation I will have with Belkis tomorrow afternoon (Monday!!!) when I tell her about the gift our friends, family, and readers will be giving to her daughter and their future.

My original goal was to raise $1000 in 10 days to send Stephanie to a school that will teach her well. Tom thought it was a little out of reach at first, but we have been overwhelmed with the generosity of our readers. Thank you.

We have just $240 to go in the next 24 hours to reach our goal. That's just $10 per hour! If you haven't been able to contribute yet, this is your chance. For those of you who have donated and sent kind words and prayers for this goal, Thank you.

Tomorrow we will return to regular blogging. If we make our goal, I'll upload a really sweet belly picture- 15 weeks with twins and a big round belly!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Please Help Stephanie

Seven days ago Karine made a goal: collect $1,000 in ten days to send little Stephanie to a quality school for a year. So far our readers have donated $650. This is a truly awesome display of generosity. Now our goal is within reach. If you have donated, thank you so much. If you haven't, please help us today.


Stephanie with her mom and Zeke.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Please Help Stephanie Today

Her name is named Stephanie. She is eleven years old. She is intelligent and funny and bright-eyed and curious. She sparkles; she shines. She dances and sings with our little son until we’re all rolling on the floor laughing. She is full of light and happiness.

And she is full of potential.

It is this, her boundless potential, which compels us to act on her behalf. She doesn’t know that we are doing this. She could never imagine anyone doing something like this for her. But we must do it because we can.

Stephanie missed over one-hundred days of school last year. Not because she doesn’t want to learn, but because the Honduran public school system is dysfunctional and underfunded and corrupt. That is not her fault.

She wants desperately to learn. And we, with your help, can make that happen for her. We can send her to a better school and put her on the path towards a brighter future.

Please donate today: $10, $20, $50, $100 – any amount will make a huge difference for Stephanie.

Thank You.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ten Dollar Tueday

Today's goal:

Ten individual donations of ten dollars or more.

Don't know what it's all about? Read the entries below.




*************************UPDATE***************************

WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!!


AWESOME
SUPER

Our total so far: $518 from 23 donors. At the end of day four we are over half way to our goal. We are getting there.

Thank you so much.

Odds and Ends: exploding air-conditioners, ect.

For those of you who have already contributed to the scholarship fund and are saying to yourselves, come on guys, talk about something besides sending a deserving and extremely cute little girl to a school where the teachers actually teach.

For those of you who have not yet contributed to send a very charming and utterly adorable little girl to a school where the teachers actually teach please consider doing so today. It will feel good. And you’ll be changing someone’s life. With ten dollars.

Here’s what is going on with us:

**We will be parting ways with our household goods next Monday.

**The air-conditioner in our room started spewing water at us last night at about ten. The water was very cold. We turned it off and thought maybe we’ll just suffer through the heat because our ceiling fan is squeaky. Ten minutes later I turned the ceiling fan on. Ten minutes after that I squirted it’s innards down with WD-40. Except I used too much. And the spinning fan started spraying lubricant all over the bed and Karine and some of it landed on my bald head. And it still squeaked. So we moved our mattress into the living room and slept for about four minutes before Zeke woke up crying and every dog in the neighborhood too. It was pretty fun.

**We’re going to miss our students when we leave. Karine says she’s going to miss working in a professional environment while she’s home with the twins and Zeke. I said I am a professional environment.

**I applied for a job over the weekend, but my application was rejected because my undergraduate degree is in English rather than communications. I always thought communications was a major for English majors who couldn’t write. Guess I was wrong. It’s a major for English majors who can’t write and want to get jobs.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Parting Gift, DAY THREE

So far, you have contributed over $300 to give a little girl the chance of a lifetime, an opportunity to learn at a decent school. We are humbled by your generocity. Thank you so much!

Let's see if we can't get another $100 closer to our goal today. Please consider contributing any amount.

Maybe we can make a deal. Let's take a little stroll down memory lane. Read this post about cashews I wrote a few years ago. I did something very stupid. If you laugh out loud at this stupid thing I did, maybe consider donating a little something to help a girl get a quality education.

One addendum: I actually did end up covered in fluid filled pustules.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Parting Gift, Day TWO

Thank you all so much. Day One was a huge success. Over $200 in donations will pay for two months of school for a very special little girl. If your generosity today can match donations received yesterday, Tom has agreed to do something ridiculous and or embarrassing. He's already shaved his head, so that's out. He's open to suggestions. We have a video camera. Maybe a performance of Old McDonald filmed at the local Burger King? Something like that. Any ideas?

****UPDATE****

4 PM Honduras time. We are half way to today's goal. My embarrassing stunt may include dancing in a public place and or wearing a silly costume. I don't want to, but I would love to half to.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Parting Gift, UPDATED

We've got about 2 weeks left of our life here in La Ceiba, Honduras. It's been an amazing 3 years full of ups and downs. We've grown accustomed to many of the idiosyncrasies of living as foreigners in a different culture. We've been given one beautiful son, and we leave Honduras with two more little ones on the way.

The country of Honduras has given us beauty. The rainforest, the beach, the islands and reef, the mountains and hills- it is truly a special place. The true beauty, however, has been in the people we've encountered here. We've discovered friends in unlikely places and been blessed with kindness by countless people.

For me, personally, one of the most special people I have encountered is Zeke's nanny, Belkis. This young woman has come into our home and our lives with a contagious smile and a can-do attitude. She's a single mom who rides her bike instead of taking a bus or taxi. Belkis completed high school about 10 years ago- a true feat for a girl in the public school system here. Everything about her is wonderful, but what is most wonderful to me, is that she loves my son. She really loves him, and he really loves her. She's taught him Spanish, dances to silly songs, and hides behind the sofa for him to find her. Zeke is enamoured. Belkis has given me peace of mind every day as I head off to work, because I know my son is going to have a fantastic day with one of his favorite people in the world.

I want to thank her in a big way. This is something I've been thinking about for many months now. About two months ago, I thought of something I could do- from one mother to another, that might make a difference. You see, Belkis has an 9 year old daughter who is just as bright, cheerful, and funny as her mom. This little girl doesn't miss a beat. She's smart too! Whenever she has a day off of school, she comes with Belkis to our house. Zeke loves having this energetic firecracker around. I love having her around too- except it means one thing. Usually when the little girl is here, it means school has been cancelled- again.

Honduras has a public school system that does not work. The teachers are on strike often because they don't receive their paychecks from the government. I won't go into all the faults of the school system nor will I pretend to understand all of the reasons it is the way it is. All I know is this- Belkis would love to put her daughter in a private school here. She could give her daughter- who desperately wants to learn- an education where the teachers come every day. It would be a place where there is a seat for every child, and teachers are motivated to help the kids learn. Private schools here (not the big bilingual schools) cost roughly $100 per month. For about $1000, this little girl might have the chance to attend classes more than 50 out of the 180 designated school days per year. It would make her mother proud.

I had hoped to be able to help sponsor this little girl's education. I know that $1000 would change this little girl's life, and possibly her future. Belkis will continue to work in Honduras after we leave, and support herself and her daughter. However, for most people here, finding work that pays an extra $100 per month is beyond difficult.

I had hoped that our little family could handle the expense of an extra $100 per month to put aside. Due to the rapid increase in our family size, and the rapid decrease in number of working parents in the house, I'm afraid Tom and I won't be able to do this alone. I am asking for anyone who has enjoyed reading our blog over the past 3 years to consider helping us change one life here before we leave Honduras.

If you can afford $10, $25, or even $100, your donation will go directly to a scholarship fund for Belkis's daughter. I promise that your money will be put into good, honest hands. My goal- lofty as it may be- is to raise one year's tuition- $1000 in 10 days. Can you please help?

We'll keep you updated as we work toward our goal.




Thank you all so much!

****UPDATE****

We received the first donation over night. Thank you so much!

****UPDATE****SUNDAY MAY, 23****

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Day One was a huge success. Over $200 in donations will pay for two months of school for a very special little girl. If your generosity today can match donations received yesterday, Tom has agreed to do something ridiculous and or embarrassing. He's already shaved his head, so that's out. He's actually open to suggestions. We do have video capabilities. Maybe a video of a performance of Old McDonald filmed at the local Burger King? Something like that. Any ideas?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

El Sauce Carnavalito 2010: Beer Prices and Availability

I rode my bike a couple of streets over this afternoon to check out preparations for this year's El Sauce Carnavalito. They are underway.

The first thing you do not need to worry about is finding a place to buy beer. All four national beers are available at reasonable prices pretty much everywhere. In fact, as you walk down the street you will pretty much always find yourself directly in front of a beer stand.


The beer stands are yellow, very easy to spot. The prices are clearly marked. The beers are extremely cold. The most affordable beer will set you back about 80 cents.

How many beer stands are there? I decided that the best way to communicate their density was with a movie. Here I am on my bike making my way down the street. Remember, the little yellow buildings are beer stations.

video

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Friday afternoon on the porch

Gunga Galunga

One of these men is Bill Murray.

Baby Name Rejects for Twins: Sven and Ole

Sven and Ole Lewandowski

It's not polite to make fun of Scandinavians. It's also not smart when key members of your family are Scandinavian. So I'm not talking here about Sven and Ole from the classic and questionably funny Sven and Ole jokes, the jokes where Sven and Ole are a couple of slow-witted farmers. Those jokes are bad because they unfairly stereotype Scandinavians.

The Sven and Ole I'm thinking of for our boys, if they are boys, are are from Sven and Ole's Pizza up in Grand Marais, Minnesota. They've got some great pizza.


I went there for the first time in 1997. I had just spent a week camping in the boundary waters wilderness area. If I remember correctly, I ate pretty much twigs and berries for the whole week. That pizza from Sven and Ole's was something special, something I will never forget.
But my wife says you can't name your kids after your most memorable pizza experience. So Sven and Ole are out.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bookshelf: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

I am not going to lie. We are a little nervous about some aspects of our return to the United States. It's a pretty crazy time for us. The biggest and scariest thing for us is what is biggest and scariest for many Americans: the job and the health care.

Our lives right now are filled with a significant amount of uncertainty. It's the unknown we're hurling toward. And that's okay. Unknown is okay. But uncertainty is fertilizer for for anxiety and fear. Those two things are not particularly useful as you lay your plans for the future.

What you gotta do, and what we're trying to do, is tally up what is known and unknown. Take stock of what is certain, make a best guess at things that are uncertain, and turn everything else over to God.

All my books are now packed away. The only one left unpacked is The Divine Milieu by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. I'm very glad to have old Pierre Teilhard along for this portion of the journey.

Monday, May 17, 2010

R. Buckminster Fuller and Omaha

R. Buckminster Fuller is one of the coolest guys ever. He was an engineer, a poet, a cartographer, a yachtsman, and a thoroughly wacky futurist. He invented the geodesic dome. He has an entire family of carbon molecules named after him. Isn't that neat?


What does this man have to do with Omaha? The world's largest glazed geodesic dome is located at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. It was not our primary reason for moving to Omaha, but it was definitely a factor in the decision.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Baby Name Rejects for Twins: Mary and Percy Bysshe

Mary and Percy Byshhe Lewandowski.

These names are out. Mary and Percy Byshhe Shelley were some romantic freaks. Mary, of course, wrote Frankenstein. Percy Byshhe wrote beautiful poetry, including Ozymandias, one of my favorites. They traipsed all over Europe; Percy fathered some random kids, some of whom they abandoned, others others whom they didn't. Percy enraged almost everybody he met because he was a know-it-all and an atheist and a snob. He drowned shortly before his thirtieth birthday and was cremated on the beach. One of his buddies snatched his heart from his burning corpse and gave it to his wife.

Most of that is pretty cool, but were still not going to name our twins after them. Mary is okay. But Percy, out of the question. These children are going to be raised in Nebraska.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Baby Name Rejects for Twins: Jacob and Smoke Monster

We've been watching Lost together since before we were married. We've seen every episode. Turns out that it all started with a set of twins. Nonetheless, these names have been considered and rejected.

Jacob, maybe. Smoke Monster is just out of the question.

Baby Name Rejects for Twin: Jet and Cord

Jet and Cord Lewandowski


We like these fellas alot. In fact, they're just about the coolest cowboys to ever show up on reality television. We were rooting for them from the get go.



But they didn't win the Amazing Race. So they're out, that was the deal. We can't name the twins after them. Sorry fellas, best of luck!



Monday, May 10, 2010

Pregnancy so far x 2

I am now officially in my second trimester of carrying twins. It's been a fairly easy pregnancy so far. I've had a lot of questions about the pregnancy, the twinning, etc. so I'll try to give a little rundown of FAQ's here:

How have you felt?
Honestly, the first trimester was pretty okay. I was more nauseous and sensitive to smells than I was while pregnant with Zeke, but nothing unbearable. Now, I'm a lot hungrier every couple hours. I am always thirsty. I drink twice as much water- much earlier- than I ever felt the first time around (At least 3 liters per day). Plus, I'm growing every day! I need a nap after school most days, but Tom has been wonderful about making sure that I can get the extra rest I need.

Are you showing yet?
Yes. I look about how I did at 16 weeks with Zeke. My pants haven't fit for a few weeks, and some shirts are beginning to look inappropriately like belly shirts. It's fun though- when you look pregnant in Honduras, you get to go to the front of the bank lines. :)

Do you know if they're identical or fraternal?
Nope, not yet! There's really only one way to tell for sure before they're born. That would be if we have one boy and one girl. Then it would be pretty obvious that they aren't identical. Otherwise they can perform some tests after the babies are born to verify. We do have reason to believe that they are most likely fraternal- see next question.

Do twins run in your family?
Yes! My mom's uncles (my grandmother's brothers) were twins. The fraternal twin gene can only be passed down through the mother's side. The identical twin thing just happens randomly. Since I've got the gene from my mother's side, it's pretty likely that they're fraternal. Tom has twins on his side of the family too, but that's just bonus. The gene comes from my side.

What are you going to do???
Well, we're going to have 3 kids under the age of 2. I'm going to do my best as a stay-at-home-mom. We'll be landing in Omaha to start our new stateside life on June 4. My due date is around Nov. 18, however twins are born on average at 37 weeks (instead of the 40 week pregnancy of a single baby). In reality, the twins will probably arrive closer to Halloween than Thanksgiving. Tom is actively looking for the next great opportunity to make some money to support a family of 5. We're just going to take things step by step- we're up for an adventure!

Have you felt them move yet?
I think that one of the cool things about twins is that they're a little more crowded than a single baby. Last week I felt them both move. As I type this, I think they're practicing for a synchronized swimming routine. It's pretty neat to be able to feel them this early.

How is Zeke taking it?
He is very excited. Every day, I explain to him how lucky he'll be to have 2 new brothers/sisters/ or brother and sister to play with. He will never be able to remember life as an only child. Luckily we will be able to remember this special time for him, and we've got about 4000 photos to prove it! Zeke has been having a lot more fun lately learning to play with other kids. I think he's going to be a wonderful big brother.

That's all for now. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! In the meantime, say a couple prayers for us! This month of change will bring many exciting moments. We're just going to keep taking it all in stride.

I'll try to post a belly picture one of these days. I'm not feeling incredibly photogenic lately, but I'll do my best sometime this week. Thanks for all the well wishes and support. We're counting on friends and family to help keep us sane in the upcoming year(s)!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Here's something we put together for our moms in 2008. This was before Karine was a mom herself, so we didn't have anything else to do. Today we're going to a water park with a couple of other super moms.

Happy Mother's Day!

We would like to take this opportunity to tell our moms how much we love them. You are both very special women in our lives. We love you so much!

video

We'd like to share some photos of our moms so our readers can see how beautiful they are. Unfortunately, the only pictures we have of them on our computer are wedding pictures. Luckily, we think that it was a particularly beautiful day for both women.


Dad, Mom, Karine, Tom, Mom


Our moms don't just take care of us, they're moms to many kids.

We were both lucky to gain another mother on July 21, 2007.

They love us unconditionally.

And for that, we are grateful!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Baby Name Rejects for Twins: Anna and Banana

Anna and Banana Lewandowski

What if we gave one of the twins a regular name and named the other one after our favorite fruit? That’s what I was thinking. Great idea!

Many twins have trouble establishing identities separate from their brother or sister. It’s a real problem for a lot of kids. It can be even more difficult for same-sex twins, doubly so for identicals. I thinking naming one of the twins after a delicious fruit would do a lot to differentiate one from the other.

Here's how the kids would see it:

She is Anna. I am Banana. We are different. I am okay because my name is Banana. She is okay because her name is Anna.

Anna is a really great name. And a banana is a really great fruit.

These names we were considering for a girl-girl set of identical twins. They have been rejected. Karine says that Banana is not a serious name for a little girl and that I should “get real” and “stop goofing around” and “find a job,” which, I think, is all well and good, but sort of closed minded.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

28 Days: Moving Possessions from Honduras to USA

On May 31st, a Dole banana truck is going to pull up in front of the house. Into that truck some guys will load whatever possessions we wish to take back home. The truck takes our cargo to one of the busiest fruit ports in the world. The Lewandowski family banana container will then be nested snugly with all the other banana containers on the banana boat. The boat, company people call it a vessel, will then navigate the probably oil-slicked waters between Puerto Cortez, Honduras and Gulf Port, Louisiana, USA.

That task that lies before us, like a steaming pile of, we'll say, nachos, is determining what goes on the vessel. There will be disagreements. Karine threw a shoe at my face with intent to injure one time as we were deciding what to take home for the summer.

Wish us luck.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Baby Name Rejects for Twins: Daedelus and Icarus

These two make a nice pair. They are certainly names with heft, Greek origin. Daedalus was a brilliant engineer and Icarus was his loving son. It’s good to think outside the box for these twin names, but sometimes you need to go back into the box to see if the names will work in a contemporary real world situation.

Like this:

“Daedalus and Icarus, get back in your room this instant and pick up your Legos.”

Or,

“Icarus, stop putting Cheetos in Daedelus’s ears.”
“It’s Daedelus’ fault. He put croutons in my pants.”

Oh, there’s the problem right there. Both names end in “s”. This means they both rely on an obscure and often misunderstood and generally lame grammar rule to form the possessive. Sorry fellas, you’re out.


29 Days

Speaking of back to the drawing board.

This is an extremely exciting time for us. The energy cycling through the El Sauce house is positively electric. We are moving back to the United States after living for three years in Honduras. Ezekiel is now fifteen months old, a charming and mobile force of destruction. He makes his parents hearts about burst from pride and terror and wonder every single day. And, miracle of miracles, we are expecting twins in November. So what is the plan? What is the plan?

Well, that’s the real question, isn’t it? We are taking the dog with us and moving to Grandma Jean’s house in Omaha, Nebraska.

A month from now we’ll be home in the United States of America. A few things are going to happen between now and then and, if you don’t mind, I intend to write about them here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Baby Name Rejects for Twins: Adolf and Ava

Here we go again.

What do you have to do to completely destroy a perfectly good pair of names for all time?

Adolf and Ava, as a pair, are pretty appealing on the surface. Note the A-dolf, A-va assonance. They sound really good together, an important consideration when naming a set of twins. Ava is a hot name right now for little girls. And with good reason. Its cute and spunky! There is also an intriguing historical context to the pair, a compelling story. Ava and Adolf were lovers, I guess. It didn't end prettily, but there must have been some romance along the way. Something like affection.

On the other hand, Adolf Hitler was not a good person. In fact, he's commonly regarded as the most evil person to ever live. So, we have to take into consideration. Especially because Hitler was, like, famously evil.

Conclusion: Adolf and Ava are a strong pair and would be attractive for a boy-girl set of twins had Hitler not forever besmirched the name Adolf by being a genocidal maniac and a general douchelord.

Back to the drawing board.