Monday, July 30, 2012

It's been a long day

This morning, Mac and I met our friends, Susan, Tara, and baby Noah for a 4 mile run through the hills of Wildwood.

After a good run and a needed shower, Susan, Mac, and I headed to do some shopping... because we had a freezer cooking day in the mix.

Martha met us shopping and we were back at Susan's house and cooking by 11:30 am.

Fast forward to 4:30...the kitchen was cleaned and this is what we had.


  • 6 Turkey-Spinach Enchiladas
  • 3 Easy Spanish Chicken and Rice
  • 4 Chicken Spaghettis
  • 4 Lasagnas
  • 4 Colorful Chicken Casseroles
  • 36 English Muffin Breakfast Sandwiches
  • 15ish pounds of twice-baked potatoes
  • 3 Chicken Bacon Subs
  • 4 Taco Chicken Bowls
  • 4 Telluride Black Bean Tortilla Bake
  • 3 Loaves French Bread
All for the bargain price of less than $80...and that included the our lunch for the day as well. 

It was a LOT of work, but totally worth it.  I came home with 11 meals, plus 12 breakfast sandwiches and a ton of twice-baked potatoes.  It only took 5 hours of cooking and 2 hours of shopping. 

Next time, however, there are some things we decided to do differently.  First of all, I would get a sitter.  For reals. Also, we would probably shop for groceries a day or two before and do some of the basic prep (chopping onions, cooking chicken) early. 

 One thing I won't change is using Susan's kitchen--it would have been crazy cramped in my house!  Thank goodness Susan was such a good sport about us taking over her home for an entire day :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Peace Corps Email #3

Original Sent Date-- September 28, 2004

Chicken Feet

Hello!
Here's a story:  The other day I got home from language classes and my host brother (who I think is
named Nichol) got me lunch (I'm pretty incapable of doing anything on my own so far) it was chicken soup,
which we've had before.  I was poking around at the bone, trying to scrape some meat off when I realized
that I wasn't just poking at any bone.  Oh no, it was the chicken foot, claws and all.  I have never been so
horrified, but I was even further grossed out when I saw Nichol gnawing at the foot in his bowl. 
Aside from that, the food is good.  Of course, now I look CAREFULLY at everything before I start poking at it.
The other day it rained and rained.  There aren't any paved roads here, so I geared up in a poncho, rain
jacket, umbrella, and my pants tucked into my big, ugly, duck boots.  My tata was NOT thrilled with my
outfit and had a very animated discussion in Romanian with him trying to tell me there was no mud and that I
did not need to dress like a swamp thing.  I countered with the fact that I am already obviously an American
and should dress however I like.  I won, but he still tried to talk me out of it this morning.
* I say discussion in Romanian, but I must clarify that it's mostly "da" and "nu" we're saying-- I don't
really have more than 8 verbs in my vocabulary yet.
What else: The other night the whole family (all 8 people that live in 5 rooms) watched Terminator 3
together-- In Russian (my family speaks Romanian and Russian).  Weird, huh?  No running water but
Terminator 3 on the computer.   
My family is very concerned that I'm cold and, while we were watching the movie, they got out a big blanket
and literally sat on me while they wrapped me up in it.  I think they called me a big baby, but I'm not
really sure of what they say most of the time.  My language teacher told me it's good that they worry--
It means they like me, I guess.
Oh!  Yesterday I was in my first earthquake!  It was so cool-- I had never felt one before.  It wasn't even
enough to spill a cup of water, but I'm still excited to experience something more than the local wine...
On Thursday, I get to start visiting sites for me to spend my 2 years in service.  I won't move until
November, but I am going to get to figure out what type of NGO I want to work in-- hopefully there will
be a lot of spots with kids!
Thanks for all your e-mails!  I don't know if I'll have time to reply to all of them before my Maxi-Taxi
drives off, but I love to hear what's going on back home... it makes me feel not as isolated as I am!
Toodles!

Darcie "I haven't bathed since Sunday and I am SMELL-Y" Brownback

Dressed for Church


A few of my training village from a hill

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Memory Lane

I've been taking Mac's picture in a white onesie every month.  In preparation for his birthday party, I printed them all out...and I thought you might enjoy taking a stroll through memory lane with us.














Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Maclin!

Today is my darling little stinkbug's first birthday.

I cannot believe that a year ago I felt like this...

And a few hours later, after delivering an 11 pound baby boy, we became a family of 3.

Mac, you've changed our lives more than I could have ever imagined--and all of it for the better.  You've taught me patience, how to power through on minimal sleep, how to carry 3 bags and a baby without dropping anything, how to be completely terrified when you're sick, and how to be so happy when you smile.

You're such a good baby in general and the best baby for me.  I love you!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Peace Corps Email #2

On our second Friday installment of Peace Corps Email, you get to enjoy my first in-country mass email home.


Hello Friends and Family!

I feel like I have been cut off from the outside world for years.  I've only been in Moldova 10 days, but
it's crazy how long it feels like I've lived here!  I live with a host family in my village... there are 5 children and mama and tata.  It's a crowded house, but they are very welcoming.  We have electricity (yay!) and even TV and a computer (but no internet...), but, no running water.  It was very hard to figure out how to use an outhouse or bathe in a bucket when I didn't speak their language.  I haven't even attempted to do laundry yet and I'm bathing as seldom as possible...yuck, huh?  I go to language classes everyday but Sunday and Romanian is getting easier by the day.
Last night, I even (mostly) understood what my host family was talking about at dinner.
There are 5 other trainee that live in my village with me.  On Friday, we went to a wedding.  It was really
pretty and the food was... unique but in a good way. Everyone sits down at a long table and eats directly
out of the serving bowls.  No plates or even napkins. There was a lot of wine and cognac, which we toasted
every other minute.  When they dance, everyone is always in a big circle and doing special kicks.  I'm
not very good, but the people are pretty forgiving of me (since I'm an American).  It's kind of funny
because this one Moldova guy kept dragging me into the middle of the circle and saying (I think) "Dance like
an American!"  I didn't really know how to tell him I wasn't good at that either...
The wedding lasts 2 days.  I went at 7 pm and went home around midnight.  When I was walking by the
wedding the next day to get to school, there were still people partying at 8:30am.  These people have
stamina that boring old me doesn't have!
That's all I really can think of now.  This should probably be longer since I had to walk 4 miles to get
to the internet (see subject line).  If I can figure out where the post office is in my town, I'll start
sending real letters.  If you all feel like sending me mail, you would be more likely to get some from me...
hint, hint.  Plus, it would make me feel super popular to get a letter.  My address (until sometime in
November) is 

I deleted this because, seriously, you don't need my old address in Moldova.

I hope everything's super in the states-- with your close internet, showers, toilets, and lack of chicken
jelly (not too good)...

Heart,

Darcie "I smell" Brownback

Some building in my training village

My host family's neighbor and her wine

The tables at the wedding

Me at our training school, not learning to speak Romanian

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dancin' and Walkin'

So after I wrote the blog about Mac doing some pool walking, David and I decided (upon the advice of my friend Beth) to encourage Mac to walk.  With just a little bit of bribery (I put a toy on my head that he wanted), we got two steps out of the little booger!

Go Mac!

I attempted to get him to do it again for film.  No such luck, but I did manage to catch him dancing to some drumming by David.

Also, enjoy the moment when David asks if I see a drum stick and I say no...not because I don't see it, but because I am too busy/tired to get it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Walking?

Yesterday at the pool Mac took his first steps... in the water.  I was there with two friends and their little boys so I took a poll.  One Mom said that it totally counted as walking.  The other did not agree.

So I called David and my mom.  Turns out, majority says that it's not walking.

I still call it a partial victory.

Soon, my little man, soon.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kansas City

This weekend, David, Mac, and I traveled to Kansas City to go to some Royal's games and celebrate Mac's birthday with family.

Friday night, Mac spent his first night ever away from me.  It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be... probably since the Royal's game we attended lasted until 1 am it was harder to notice Mac's absence.  

Happily for David, it was also Mizzou day at the K.

The attractive man in the picture (besides David) is some Mizzou football player.
 I thought he was handsome.


 It was also dollar day--meaning that hotdogs, peanuts, and soda were all ONE DOLLAR.
Lesli was excited.  I was sick by the time the evening was over--we had a contest that I won.  Unfortunatley, that also meant I had to eat 6 hotdogs.
Bad choice.

On Saturday, we celebrated Mac's birthday.
 He's so stinkin' handsome.

 He was a fan of the strawberry cake that Mom and Lindy bought him.

I was excited that Slugerrr came by to take a picture with him.

Mac was not excited.
I know it's mean--but this might be one of my all-time favorite pictures of Mac.

That, or this one, taken at the end of the night.
 
That baby was TIRED.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our toy system

Mac, like a lot of kidlets, has a lot of toys.  We often feel overrun in our tiny house with all the baby junk that accumulates--so I decided to wrangle the toy situation once and for all.

Enter the basket solution.

Mac gets one basket of toys out in our living room.  With the exception of two larger items (a push walker thing and a sit-on excavator), if it doesn't fit in the basket, it's not accessible to him.

Because Mac has generous people in his life, he has way more toys than fit in the basket.  I keep them packed away in a few tubs.  When Mac (and by Mac I mean the things I assume Mac thinks) gets bored with some toys, I swap out the toys in the basket for one of the reserved tubs.  There are a few of my favorites (the push popper and tub of shapes) that stay consistently, but almost everyone gets the swap treatment.

I switched out the toys last night--and it was like Christmas came this morning.






Monday, July 2, 2012

Wine Tasting

Last Thursday evening, David and I went to a wine tasting at Eckert's with some friends of ours.  It was amazing.  Even though the heat was blistering that day, we took a tractor ride to a vineyard for the event. 

The view was amazing--as was the food, wine, and company.



It was wonderful to get out of the house--we couldn't have done it without the generous offer of babysitting from our dear friend, Jess.