Supporting refugees in Lebanon

Supporting refugees in Lebanon

In many ways, the needs of refugees in Beirut have moved from the category of relief to development.  Now that’s not to say that there are not refugees who are hungry or in desperate need of shelter, because there certainly are.  But I’ve noticed a subtle shift in many organizations from providing food and clothing to looking for more long term ways to help refugees do more than just barely survive.  Our church, for example, is offering English classes, which is especially desirable for those hoping to emigrate to the West.

For months and even years, many refugees have been living on handouts from the UN, churches and other charitable organizations.  But this is neither sustainable nor best practice for the long term.  The old saying about giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish is the perfect analogy for the needs of many refugees that I know.  They don’t want or need handouts as much as they need an opportunity and the skills to work in order to provide for themselves and their families.

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(picture from fajr beirut’s facebook page)

Some friends of mine run a small house in a neighborhood where many refugees come to beg.  They’ve opened their doors to these women and are trying to offer them another way, a way that restores dignity and puts the power to provide and care for their families back into their hands.  The women have learned how to make notebooks and are selling them as a way to support themselves.

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The notebooks are cute, nicely made and a simple way that you can be involved in getting a family off the streets.  They come in 2 sizes and can be purchased at Zenjabeel Coffee Forum in Hamra or from the Fajr Beirut Facebook page.

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Luka by the month – 11 months

Luka by the month – 11 months

luka by the month

It’s amazing how babies grow and develop overnight.  Luka started taking hesitant steps a month ago, and now he’s a super confident walker.  He can squat down to get something off the floor and stand back up.  He can step over and around toys on the floor, climb stairs and he even thinks he can jump, which is pretty much the most adorable thing ever.  He loves to push buttons in the elevator, the microwave and I’m pretty sure he’s been turning the wash off mid-cycle.

He likes to play on the slides at the girls’ school, empty my fruit cart of lemons and potatoes, and brush his teeth.  He waves bye-bye and gives slobbery kisses, especially to his sisters.  When he wants a nap, he starts patting the side of his head and blowing kisses.  He’s finally sleeping through the night more often than not, although when he does, he’s up and at’em around 5am.  He shouts mamamama! but not necessarily directed at me.  Most of his “talking” consists of grunting and spitting.

Luka loves to eat.  His favorite food is still fruit, although he can pack away a quarter pounder like a boss.  He has also been known to steal juice from refugees.  This child has no shame.  Thankfully he’s cute.  Really, really cute.DSC_5524

Luka by the month – 7 months

Luka by the month – 7 months

It’s a bit embarrassing that pretty much all I blog about these days are my children and food.  But let’s be honest.  With three small kids and a jam packed schedule at work, if my kids are fed and still alive by the end of the day, I count it all success.  Laundry may pile high, dishes might still be in the sink, and the blog is rarely updated.  But my kids feel happy and loved.

And what’s not to love about a seven month old??

luka 7 mos

I just love the phase that Luka is in.  Granted, I do wish he would stop spitting up, and the waking up every two hours at night because, well, who knows why, is really getting old.  But besides that, this age is so fun.  Luka loves to laugh, and even funnier, he’s figured out how to make his sisters crack up, so it’s a regular giggle factory around here.  He spits and blows bubbles and basically baptizes anyone he can get his mouth near.  He sits like a pro now and just started crawling yesterday. He loves to play on the floor and is quite content for quite a while to sit and play with his toys.  He loves to jump, whether in his door jumper or on my lap.  He’s a wild man in the bath – I can’t wait for his first beach trip this week!!

I can see two little teeth just under his gums, but so far they haven’t poked through.  Any toy, cord, body part or piece of paper he can get his hands on goes straight into his mouth, but if I put a piece of food on his tray, he pokes at it, purses his lips and refuses to even entertain the idea of actually eating anything.  At 18 pounds (Ruby’s weight at one year!!), he’s clearly doing just fine, but it would be nice if he’d actually eat the banana instead of just squashing it between his fingers and smearing it in his hair.

He’s such a happy baby, although he’s started to have a bit of separation anxiety.  He’s definitely a mama’s boy right now which is both sweet and exhausting.  He’s sleeping great during the day… taking long naps in his bed if we are home or in the wrap if we are out.  Nights are another story.  We’re going to try moving him out of our room soon to see if that will help him not wake up as often for my company.  We’ll see, haha.

I might really miss waking up to this view:
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Luka by the month – 6 months

Luka by the month – 6 months

luka 6 mos

Part of me kind of expected to wake up on Luka’s six month bday and be done with spit up forever.  That has not been the case.

But spit up and all, Luka is a joy.  He loves playing peek-a-boo, chasing his sisters and jumping in that swingy thing that hangs from the doorway.  No toy is safe if it’s in Luka’s sight – he’s figured out how to roll all over the room.  He’s sitting up, though a bit wobbly still.  He’s bouncy wiggly and always on wants to be on the move. He’s grabbed and tried to eat birthday cake, an ice cream cone, a taco and a tuna sandwich, but when we actually try to put food in front of him, he could care less about it.  He’s still a milk monster, though.

Luka’s a happy smiley baby… offering his drooly, toothless grin to anyone who will make eye contact with him.  He’s obsessed with the colorful light in our salon and Ruby’s birthday banner which is still hanging up.  Sleeping during the day is still hit or miss, although I can always get him to nap in the wrap, but he’s finally finally finally back to sleeping through the night, although it still takes a two hour nursing marathon to get him down for the night.

Can’t believe it’s been six months since Luka joined the family.  We love him so!

Luka by the month – 5 months

Luka by the month – 5 months

luka 5 months

Luka took his four month sleep regression very seriously.  The combination of being super distracted during the day and needing to make up for it by eating all night long and his new trick of rolling onto his belly while sleeping (“I’m on my belly!  WHHYYYY am I on my belly!?!?!”) made for not a lot of sleep for mama.  We had a few good nights last week, so I thought our champion sleeper was back, but the past two nights are proving me wrong!

Luka is a wild, happy baby.  He is constantly moving… rolling and kicking on the floor and bouncing, turning, kicking and stretching on someone’s lap.  When he starts chatting, his conversations are loud and long and wet, because there is constantly drool pouring out of his mouth.  He loves playing with his toys, although at this stage that means chewing on them – Sophie the giraffe is one of his favorites this month.

He loves his sisters and laughs at all their silly jokes, loves being bounced and swung and can’t get enough of his bath.  He’s smiley and giggly and happy.  He loves sleeping in the wrap and hates being alone.  Still spitting up on everyone and everything… hoping to have something new to report on that front next month!

Luka by the month – 4 months

Luka by the month – 4 months

luka 4 months

Luka is in such a fun stage.  He’s rolling all over the place, grabbing at anything he can reach (and putting it straight into his mouth) and blowing raspberries like a pro.  He hates taking naps during the day… basically he needs movement, white noise, skin touching skin and my finger to suck on in order to fall asleep.  Or he just needs to sit in Caleb’s lap and he’s out.  He’s pretty easy going as long as you aren’t trying to put him to sleep, but we’ve recently discovered he has quite the temper if you try to change his diaper or get him dressed when he’s hungry.  He loves his sisters more than anything and will fuss until he’s in the same room as them.  He still spits up like it’s his job, which is even more messy now that he likes rolling onto his belly.  He’s super strong, can almost pull himself up into a sitting position from his back using just his ab muscles.  So much for my dream of a lazy baby!  He’s very interested in everything that’s going on around him… I absolutely love how he takes little breaks to smile and coo at me while he’s nursing.  Don’t so much love the twisting and turning to see every time one of his sisters talks.  ;)

While he’s pretty average weight (about 15 pounds), he’s super tall and feels huge to me, especially compared to my girls who were the same weight at 7 and 8 months.  So to us, he’s a big boy!

Luka by the month – 3 months

Luka by the month – 3 months

luka 3 mos

Luka’s basic stats…  5.9 kilos (13 lbs) and 65 cm (2 feet tall, haha).  Basically he’s average weight and off the chart in height.

And now, Luka at 3 months.  By Isla & Ruby.
“Luka smiles a lot.  He smiles at me and Daddy and Ruby.  He spits up a lot still.  He smiles and laughs at the same time.  And cries.  And he poops.  And he potties.  (Those are Ruby’s contributions.)  And he doesn’t sleep so good in the day and night mostly.  Luka loves his sisters and his dad and mom and himself.  He likes to talk to people.  He likes to have some noisy toys.  He doesn’t know how to chew on his thumb yet.  He loves to drink milk and sit up.”

And now the clarification.  He does actually smile at me too.  :)  Isla is right he doesn’t sleep very well during the day, except when Caleb is home, and then he magically naps for hours next to his Daddy.  He sleeps like a champ at night, so I can’t really complain.  He’s quite content when he’s awake, has the sweetest little voice and loves to chew on his fingers.  While last month I would have described Luka as an old crank, he’s so much more smiley and social now.  He’ll stare you down til you make eye contact and then reward with with the sweetest little grin.  We love our little Luka!