Saturday, September 29, 2007

Communication Hindrance

If you've emailed me and not gotten a reply, it is because we hardly ever have an internet signal these days. In fact, I'm amazed I even have one now that is good enough to get this posted.

We share wireless internet service with our neighbor, splitting the bill. Well, a few months ago our neighbor was broken into...while they were sleeping someone took their kitchen window off somehow and got in. They didn't bother them, but several things were stolen. The dog was able to wake them, but it was too late...the thieves were gone. Anyway, after that they decided to build a wall around their house. So, a big cinder block wall is now going up over there...good for them, bad for our internet signal. :)

Sometime this week we will make other arrangements for internet service, but until then it is very, very sporadic. So, that's why we haven't called any of you or answered any emails. Thanks for your patience. Hopefully soon we will be back.

Hope you have a fantastic weekend. We are actually about to head to a birthday party. More news and pictures to come next week sometime.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Power of Pressure

I will eventually get to writing out mine and Joel's story, I promise. Thanks so much for the interest. That's very nice of you all...and very encouraging that you think of it as an encouragement and testimony helpful to others. But...I just don't have the time to do that today, but felt like I needed to post.

So, here you go...this is dedicated to the all-mighty pressure cooker. :)

I never had a pressure cooker before now...never needed one. Mama had one growing up, but I don't even know what she used it for...I think peas maybe...chicken? I don't know...never paid attention.

But, you know that whole soaking thing you do with dried beans there in the states? I used to have to remember to put them out the night before soaking...if I didn't, we didn't have beans the next day. So annoying.

Well, shortly after moving here, I learned a much better way...no soaking required. You put the beans in a pressure cooker and cook them. Novel idea I tell you. Why did nobody ever tell me that when I lived in the states? Yeah, so you put beans in, put plenty of water in too, and cook them...done in 40 minutes (that's for the smaller beans, like black beans for instance...takes longer for the bigger beans, but it's still quick). Hello. Seriously, what's up with all that meaningless, useless soaking?

Although I have a serious aversion to beans these days (started about a week before I found out I was pregnant...before that I was eating beans and rice for lunch everyday), I am so glad I have this information. Maybe the beans that are in the states are different, although I can't imagine that being the case. And maybe this is common knowledge and I just wasn't enlightened. But, just in case you didn't know...if you make beans, a pressure cooker is nice to have.

And now, just for kicks, here are pictures of each kiddo at 9 months old. Funny, in real life I think Asa looks more like Grady. But, if you are just looking at these pictures that I chose, to me it looks like she looks more like Hadley in these. They all look similar I guess, but yet so different. Fun stuff.
















Monday, September 24, 2007

A Little Nudge

You know how unpacking is. You start, you do one big whopping job, then you slow down a bit and do a little here and a little there. Either you just get distracted (very, very easy with 3 small children) or you just get sick and tired of doing one thing and jump to another. All of this leads to this...little piles of unfinished things all over the house. Most of it's done, but it's just the last little tidying up to do that seems the most tedious.

Well, today I have my little nudge to get the tedious over with. The young married peeps from our church are coming over to our house tonight for their weekly meeting. So, off I go to finish up the organizing and sorting and putting into place. It'll still be a little bit of a mess...we don't yet have things like toy boxes and a desk, etc. But, it'll still be done, as much as possible for the time-being.

Nothing like a good little nudge every now and then.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wipes

So, Amber asked about our wipes and so have several others of you over time, so I thought I'd just post about it. These would've been great to have during my speech class in college (demonstrational or intructional speech), but now I'll just do it in blog form.

There are many recipes for homemade wipes, but this one we were given when pregnant with Hadley by my Bible study friend and Bradley method teacher who is also a chiropractor. And, even though I have never done this, you can also use this same concept to make things such as antibacterial/disinfectant wipes.

Alright, here you go...

1. First we cut a paper towel roll in half. It will end up looking something like the first picture below.

2. Mix these things together (for standard size paper towel rolls in the states...here in Brasil they are much smaller and I've had to greatly modify the recipe):

1 1/2 - 2 cups water
6 tsp. olive oil (obviously this is 2 tablespoons, but I prefer to only use one measuring spoon...one less thing to wash)
2 tsp. baby soap/shampoo
tea tree oil (8-10 drops)
lavendar oil (8-10 drops)


Grady is again showing his demonstration of the mixing action in the 2nd picture below.

The tea tree oil and lavendar oil are a little expensive sometimes, depending on where you get them. But, they are both great for your little one's skin, they smell super, and in doing only a few drops at a time, they last forever anyway.

You will also need to get a sufficient container to put them in. We already had these (as seen in the third picture below) from Wal-Mart probably...this is the medium size container that came in a 3 size set. You put one of the paper towel roll halves (minus the cardboard middle) in the container and pour the above mixture over it.

And, very important...you really can't go generic on these. If you want good wipes that aren't going to crumple and fall apart as you pull them out of the container, get Brawny...they are the best for making wipes.

That concludes this demonstration. I hope it served you well and I made an A+...oh, yeah...this isn't speech class.















Grady and his skills.
















Isn't this cute? This is our house in Longview...that is Hadley, about 7 months old I think. You can see our wipes behind her on the floor.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Precise Explanation

I have a friend, Auny. She has a sister, Kay, who just went to Peru in July with her husband as missionaries. They are out in a more remote area than we are even, but her thoughts the other day finally gave voice to my thoughts during this transition. So, I thought I'd give you a glimpse as to what she said. Thank goodness, these feelings seem to be lessening. But, still...just a little more into my world...

First you will read my comment to Kay on her blog. Then you will read her actual post.

Comment: Girlfriend, I finally saw in your very precise blog post here EXACTLY what I've been feeling but haven't been able to even express to myself. Funny how sometimes you don't even know how to explain how you feel. Thanks for putting into words my daily thoughts...although thank God they are getting better. Maybe it's like drugs and I had to go through major detox. The withdrawals and detox symptoms are getting less brutal, thank goodness.

On Sunday, August 26

Kay wrote:

I got a letter from my parents the other day and my mom said to let them know what to be praying about. “Don’t try to be brave,” she wrote, “keep it real.” In an effort to keep it real, here is my confession.

I feel like there is a war going on in my mind right now. I noticed it right away when we got to Peru, even before we moved to the “jungle.” I think of all the things you would expect, like missing my family and friends. But even more than that, I am sometimes consumed with thoughts of my comfort. Things like a carpeted floor, a nice sized bathtub, and a dishwasher are all I can think about. Other times it’s late night runs to Dairy Queen or eating at my favorite restaurants that take over my mind. I miss listening to my favorite radio program on the way to work and stopping in at McDonald’s for breakfast.

I’m sure these are all normal reactions to so many changes, but it is humbling to see how dependent I am on comforts. More than once I have told God, “I don’t want to do this. I want to live in a comfortable house, with the kinds of food I like close by. I want to work and make money to get the things I want to buy. I want to enjoy evenings with friends who are like me and speak English. I want to live close to my family and see them whenever I want to.” It was immediately obvious to me that I want to serve myself. I want what I want to be more important than what God wants. Imagine leaving God’s calling for radio morning shows and fast food. When I think about it, it is ridiculous, but when faced with so many changes, my mind is rebelling.

So that is my confession. I’m not sure how much more REAL I can get than that. Yes, we are excited about God’s calling, but yes, we need your prayers. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Peeks and Parties

We got our first peek at our wee one today. Yep, I had my first OB appointment today.

First I went to the OB's office. This lady is a friend of Kristin's from church and has been working 30 years. Let's just say she's delivered a lot of babies. But, she just recently stopped delivering babies and gone straight to doing only gynecological care. So, basically she was just doing Kristin a favor and seeing me just this once. She did her exam and felt like I was probably about 10 weeks or so. I had suspected that I was about 9 or 10 weeks along...11 maybe, 12 at the most, from what I could figure or imagine given my symptoms and such. So, 10 weeks sounded right to me. Everyone here is so relational, even the doctors. So, they spend tons of time with you and answer all your questions...and just chat. You really only get that from a midwife type in the states. Not that there aren't good, caring doctors in the states, but they are just super busy and just not as relational. So, that was nice. She ordered an ultrasound for me, thanked her, and left.

A fun story: Grady got to go with us to the "baby doctor." It was really special for him to get to go on the big boy outing. Kristin met us there...our first OB visit here and she's had children here...she knew lots of great questions to ask about birthing here. So she came with her 2 kiddos in tow. During the visit when we were just chatting with the Dr., I heard Grady saying to Michael, "I'm just here waiting on Mama to get the baby out of her belly." So cute. We had actually explained to him what we were doing...and how very long it would be until the baby made its appearance. But, apparently it was to no avail. Anyhoo, we explained more and he seems to have remembered and really gotten it now.

We went to one of the ultrasound places and were actually able to get one done today, after a good bit of waiting. Eliane was with the girls so we could do that, thank goodness. Grady was great...of course it helped that they had a movie playing in the waiting room. We are in the middle of fasting movies for a while (with the kids), so of course he was glued since he hasn't seen a moving screen in a few days. :) He's so fun these days though...even when he wasn't watching, he just played with his cars or had a very thorough, intelligent, lengthy conversation with us. He's very grown up now. As he says, he's "big and big." I think that means that he's getting bigger and bigger. Cute.

Anyway, the ultrasound room was really nice. The radiologist studied at Harvard and spoke English to me the whole time, explaining everything...English is always a rare added bonus. The baby looks so super cute already of course, was moving around alot, and is totally healthy from what can be seen in an ultrasound. The main reason we were needing an ultrasound at this point was to be able to determine a due date...see how far along I am. The ultrasound actually showed that I am 13 1/2 weeks along! I asked him if it could be possible that I am actually 10 weeks along with just a baby measuring bigger. Oh...and the OB that I saw just happened to walk over and was able to come in and see the ultrasound too...it was cool how that worked out. They both said no...that the ultrasound was pretty accurate, esp. at this point in the pregnancy. So, my due date is now officially March 22nd. They said that the ultrasound prediction has a margin of error of 5 days or so. So...you know...somewhere around the end of March we will have a baby I guess.

So weird...I was at first thinking about a month after that...I was sure it was April sometime. I told Joel, this is the way to do a pregnancy. Just today, about a month was shaved off my pregnancy in my mind. Nice!!

We came home and ate supper really quick and then went to a friend's house for a birthday party. One of Joel's fellow students, Rodrigo, had invited us over. His wife, Laila, turned 26 today. It was a really fun time. They have 2 boys...Lucas is 3 and Andre is 3 months. There were about 10 people there...all really fun people...lots of joking and laughing. Fun times.

Now, I'm off to bed. I also had 2 1/2 hours of Portuguese class this morning...I'm pooped. Goodnight.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Story From The Field

Every Monday morning Asas has a corporate worship and prayer time, usually with a speaker. The speaker they had today is actually a fellow student of Joel's. He just got back from a trip to the Manaus area, pronounced muh-nouse (rhymes with mouse). Manaus is one of the places that we might be sent to.

Asas was doing an AMDE outreach up in that area (this includes medical, dental, and evangelism). Joel's fellow student, Eber, is actually a dentist. He and his wife moved here to join Asas following the call God placed on their hearts to serve here. So, he gave up his practice and came (they are both Brazilian). They were short a dentist last week in Manaus, so they asked him to go.

They were also supposed to have a certain evangelist join them there, but he had to bail at the last minute. In his place though, he sent someone else. Eber and the others got to the airport to pick up this guy's replacement and they waited and waited. They finally came to realize that their guy was there the whole time. They didn't recognize him. Why? They didn't know they were supposed to be looking for a 15-yr. old. They all thought, "what the heck?"

Eber said though that they learned a great deal last week about judging. Their first thoughts when they saw this young guy was bewilderment as to why this other evangelist had sent him. They were thinking they were going to have to basically "babysit" all week long. He said that they were so wrong. This kid BLEW them away. The things he did with the people, the games he played with the kids...crowds were just drawn to him, eager to learn more about Jesus because of this 15-yr. old. Joel said Eber showed a picture of this huge crowd of people just lined all around. Eber said, "You think this would be a picture of the crowds waiting for medical and dental attention. Nope. This crowd was drawn by that kid."

Amazing. I bawled as Joel told me that story. I'm bawling now as I type this. Joel said that he would love to meet that kid. I said that I would love to meet his parents. Of course sometimes a person is called and used by God in incredible ways even when they have loser parents. But also sometimes a person like this is helped to become like this greatly by his parents. What did they do to encourage these gifts and talents? When did they first notice these things about their son and how did they facilitate growth in those areas? I'm intrigued. Of course, they could be great parents and still be just as surprised and as intrigued as I am at the things their son is allowing God to accomplish through him. You never know. But, I wonder.

I wonder because of course I think, what if when that kid was 3, he was just like Grady? What if my son or daughter will be the equivalent of the next Billy Graham or Corrie ten Boom? It's so exciting to think of what they will be and what they will become. Of course they don't have to be what we think of as "great" or "famous people after God"...like the Billy Grahams and others. I will be proud of them and love them no matter what of course. If they are running after God with all their hearts then my job will have been done successfully. But, it is exciting to think of all the potential there and it does motivate a mother to be on her toes when I hear a story like this one. It reminds me and excites me about really getting to know my kiddos...what makes them tick, what they are made for, what God has planned for them. So fun. So exciting. Such a great honor to be the one that has the ability to mold and shape. Scary that sometimes that same ability is misused and instead of molding and shaping, tearing down and incapacitating occurs, even though it may be done completely accidentally. I am up for this challenge and the fun ride God has for us with our kids...and of course He will guide our every step so that His purposes will prevail in our lives and the lives of our children! Awesome!!

Now for some pictures of these precious little people in our care (and lots of pictures at that...LOTS...so get ready...and as always, if you wish to enlarge the picture, just click on it)...


Remember the birthday party we went to a couple of weeks ago? This is the birthday girl, Ana Clara. The party was at the playground just up the hill from our house.
The kids...and check out that cake. Chocolate upon chocolate, with chocolate sprinkles...heaven for a pregnant girl. And to top it off...strawberries in that chocolate. Not a bad deal.






Princess, as the bib proclaims.
















The baby is the birthday girl's little sister. The man in the stripes is our next-door neighbor, Andre. He lives to the right of us. He brought his little girl, Poliana...she is the smallest girl standing.
The kids playing.
One day when we (me and the kids) went up to the playground to hang out with everyone. Asa was not so sure about this very dark lady from Africa at first (not sure if it was her skin tone or her rowdiness), but quickly grew attached to her. I forgot her name, but she is C-R-A-Z-Y. I don't speak her language very well yet, but I could tell...hilarious and fun chic.

Always has a smile for the camera.
















My new favorite picture of the kids. LOVE this picture! It really kind of shows their personalities I think...Grady the sweet little boy, Hadley the little stinker, and Asa the cheerful baby. We were all ready to go to our Independence Day celebration/BBQ at our neighbor's house. Tim and Tammy live to the left of us. They have 2 children who they adopted here. Ben is 14 I think, Rachel is 11 (I think...something like that).








What a cute little load, don't you think?







Walking in front of our house to get there. My family wondering why I'm taking frame-by-frame pictures. :) Asa's even pointing at me as if to say, "Who's that crazy lady?" :)






Hadley has become quite the poser. So funny. That is Sara with her. She will be 2 in December. They live 2 doors down from us, on the other side of Andre (the guy at the birthday party). Her dad is from the UK and her mom is Brazilian but went to the UK for college. So, when her mom speaks english it is in a british accent of course...and of course the little girl has a cute little accent as well. It's funny...when Brazilians hear our kids speaking english, they always talk about how cute it is to hear little kids speaking in english. I'm like, that's weird. But, I do the same thing...I think this little girl speaking in her cute little british accent is so cute. Funny the way we are.


Yes, and the posing continues. :) Also, this little chic never keeps a pair of shoes on.















The guy with the striped shirt is Tim. The guy in red is his brother. The other guy is Terry, the guy from the UK.














Ummm, where's Asa? :) Love those cute little legs and feet sticking out. Notice the doll in the crib with her (at her covered up head)...she loves it. It was mine when I was a little girl. And my Aunt Marilyn has gotten both the girls the same line of doll already for their own enjoyment. Isn't that cool?










Don't you just love this chair? I do too. My uncle gave it to me when I was a wee tot like my kiddos. Now, here it is, all the way in Brasil being played with by my kids. How fun.













MEXICAN NIGHT at the VanBeveren's...woohoo!! Thanks Steve and Kristin...it was yummy!!














Grady and his friend Michael.
Asa happy as a lark. Unfortunately, either right before this was taken or right after, she broke one of their really nice decorations...a really nice one (probably fine crystal or something)...eeek! Some people's kids. So sad, but they were totally great about it. We have plenty of stories like that. Stuff like that is bound to happen when you have all these toddlers running around at once.
Hadley and her friend, Maira. Yep, they had a video on...Hadley's eyes are nowhere near looking at me. :)
All ready for dessert...the kids all decked out in their hats.










Helping Mama make wipes.
















Enjoying one of Daddy's bird baths. She was trying so hard to grab the water...and was having a blast.

































































Lovin' from Asa.



Nothing like sisters.



Helping Daddy do dishes. This has become the assembly line and the kids love doing it. They take such pride in their work. Hadley is the master rinser. Grady is the master dryer and stacker...and of course the overseer of Hadley's rinsing skills. He's pretty meticulous. And Hadley is very teachable. They work very well together.


Gorgeous...just gorgeous. Wearing the cute little dress that Grandma made for Hadley last year.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Busy Few Days

As you all know, we finally got our stuff about a week ago. So, we've been super busy unpacking and finding a place for everything. It's been fun. We brought just enough stuff to make it feel like home, but not too much that we are overwhelmed and crowded. It's nice. Well, except for in the clothes area. We have lots of clothes, but I don't know how to not have a lot of clothes when you have all sizes for girls and boys age newborn to 6 (Grady can already wear some 6 stuff). We had alot given to us before we left also. Not to mention all of my maternity clothes. I've been pregnant in every season of the year, so I've got alot. Plus, again...despite having weeded out alot before we left, had more given to me too. I can't really give away...I'm obviously not done with pregnancies. So, other than the clothes issue (which will be an ongoing issue I'm sure), we are good. The clothes thing isn't that bad either...just takes alot of time to go through each closet and put away what doesn't fit anymore and put stuff in that does fit. So, lots of my time has been spent doing that. Now, geez...enough about that, right? :)

Last Wednesday night we went to a choir concert thing. It was supposed to start at 7:30, but didn't end up starting til 8:30. We were late as usual (because we are always late...and thank God it no longer matters now that we live in Brasil:) ), but since it was so late starting, our kiddos were done before the opening act. So, even thought it was nice...we had to leave.

Thursday night Asas de Socorro had a country party. It was fun. We all dressed up like country people and went and had good eats and played fun games. I say we dressed up like country people. I had pigtails in my hair and a sort of cowgirl looking shirt, but if I really wanted to look country like the country people I know, I would've had pink rollers in my hair and worn my house slippers.

Friday was the Brazilian equivalent to Independence Day, or 4th of July for the U.S. So, we were invited to a BBQ next door with our American friends who have been here about 15 years. They had also invited another couple who lives 2 doors down from us...he is British and she is Brazilian. They've been here 5 years. And another couple was there too...the brother of the host and his friend. It was a plus day for me though...they all spoke English. So, what did we speak all day? English! Ahh...it really was nice.

Saturday night we went over to Steve and Kristin's for a Mexican night. YUMMY!! We girls really miss our Mexican food, so we just had to whip some up ourselves. It was fun...and oh so tasty.

Sunday and Monday were spent just doing more unpacking. Joel left Tuesday morning to go to Belo Horizonte, a city southeast of here. He and Steve flew the same plane down that he had to go get in Boa Vista last month. They had to go get some documentation work done so the plane would be fly-able.

Last night Kristin, Michael, and Maira came over for some more Mexican...yeah, we just can't get enough.

Anyhoo, here are some pictures of our activities the past few days. The pictures from the Independence Day BBQ and the Mexican night are on the camera that Joel has with him, so you'll just have to wait for those. Enjoy the country party pictures though.


Before the country party pictures, here is one of the kids loving their loot from the crates. This is still going on. Toys are a good thing.
At the country party on Thursday. Kids just love to jump, don't they?
This is Jeyson. He's got an interesting story. His parents are Brazilian, but he grew up in Ecuador...his parents went there as missionaries. He went to an American school there and then to college in the states. He speaks perfect english with no accent, plus speaks spanish and portuguese of course. He is a student with Joel. He is getting married in December...to a girl from new Jersey.
Fishing...for paper fish.
Mmmmm!
Horsey rides and friends.











Asa making her way around.
















One of our favorite people, Josemil. He and his family are always laughing and having a great time. The church that we are thinking is our church is actually the church that they go to too.






The John Deere boy with his lasso.
















Michael bust-ing out. He is a dancing fool. He surprised everyone, even his parents. It was hilarious. The music started and he just got after it...for a long time.
Our leader...yes, the president of Asas de Socorro. He is so great. So silly just like the rest of us, but of course very leader-like when it's needed too.
A game where they had to find a ring with only their mouth in the pudding.









Can you tell we really enjoyed the candied apples?















Grady loving it too.
Most of the gang that was there.