Friday, February 29, 2008

Feeling Fine

We did the Doppler yesterday. Basically it is an ultrasound, but they take more extreme measurements and look at the blood flow really thoroughly from all possible places. Everything turned out completely normal. The baby was estimated to be 5 lbs. 12 oz. yesterday. If so, it will probably be around 7 1/2 pounds when born...going by that estimate yesterday and projected weight gains. Who knows. It will be interesting to have a smaller baby. And you never know about delivery. Eissa, even though big, was out in just 9 minutes of pushing (and that included shoulders getting stuck). This baby, if that 7 1/2 pounds is right, will be 2 lbs. 6 oz. smaller...will be nice if it actually feels that way coming out. :-) You never know...we'll be praying for that though for sure.

It was so great to see the baby again though...chubby cheeks, poochy lips and all. The baby yawned, or looked like it yawned...opened its mouth anyway. It was moving all around and making all kinds of fun expressions. It was so cute. Can't wait to meet the little smushy thing. Ahh, I just wanted to smooch his/her face already. Oh, and another God gift was that both ultrasounds this week was attended by radiologists who spoke English. That was nice (for me). The one yesterday was getting up to leave and said, "Are you sure you don't want to know the would be so easy to see." We laughed and of course

My blood work results showed that I continue to be anemic (this is a norm. for me even when not pregnant)...and even worse than before. The one doctor here in Anapolis even wanted me to go see a hematologist. We are getting a couple other opinions to see what might be best. I'll keep you posted on that. Other than that, no abnormal results.

What was the cause of that pain that knocked me out for 2 days? No idea. Was it something that because of your prayers I was just healed of and there were no findings? Was it just part of my body's way of getting ready for labor? When I was pregnant with Eissa and about this far along I had that super horrible migraine that knocked me out for 5 days...I was told that it was probably related to hormonal changes and my body getting ready somehow. I don't necessarily like these "getting ready" stages. :-) Ha ha ha. Nothing like this or the migraine happened with the first 2. Let's all pray that nothing else happens this time before delivery. At least when I had the migraine Joel wasn't even working at the time, so I just stayed in bed. I can't really afford (not money wise, but just time and circumstance wise) to be down and out now. :-)

Anyhoo, it's back to the normal routine. The kids have been going to Portuguese class without me. I didn't like the idea at first, but knew it was so good for them...and I couldn't really take care of them that well while I was in such pain anyway. So, they went. I will stay home today...I've missed the rest of the week, what's one more day. Plus, Hadley's birthday party is tomorrow and I'm going to get ready for that. I will return to Port. class on Monday.

We have another full weekend. We will be going to a birthday party/churrasco tonight, having Hadley's birthday party tomorrow, and are supposed to have another churrasco here on Sunday. Whew!

Here are some pictures from last weekend's churrasco here at the house.

This was early on in the night...others arrived later. But, these are some of the students at Asas.
And their wives.
Ricardo grilling up a storm. Although a Brazilian Bar-B-Q involves a grill and skewers, it is a little different than American. The 2 big differences to me are: 1) it involves a LOT of salt and 2) there is no bar-b-q sauce. :-) It's still very yummy, just in a very different way. My favorite part of churrasco though is that they grill provolone cheese balls on sticks...Mmmmmmmm!

Being served some meat. You don't just cook up the meat and serve it all at one time. It just comes out as cooked and you grab some here and there.

This is a little blurry but it was really funny.

The men...and Eissa.
Chatting on a full tummy.
Hadley was the only little girl playing with a bunch of little boys (Eissa played with them some), but of course she didn't mind. Pedro, the tallest guy, is super great to our kiddos. At one point Hadley wanted to put her Cinderella dress on. The rule is that she can't wear it outside, but I let her, just for a little while. She wanted to let everyone see it I'm sure. It was really cute. She spun around for Pedro and Pedro oohed and ahhed. She just smiled and it was really cute.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

So Glad to be Married to You

(First of all, really quickly...still feeling fine. Just wanted to let you know. I am all back to normal...motivation and all. Thanks so much for prayers. Still no results from the doctor and we have our Doppler thing this afternoon...I'll let you know all about that tomorrow)

I mentioned in our story (the story of how me and Joel got together) a while back about how I’d gone out with that guy right after high school for about 3 ½ years. I said how it had taken me about 4 years to be healed of that. But, funny thing...I still dream about it sometimes like it was yesterday that we broke up. They are horrible, very vivid and real dreams. I feel the rejection and loneliness all over again. I feel completely lost and like I don’t know what to do with myself. I ache and long for him...all over again. I am SO VERY SAD in these dreams. When I wake up, that’s immediately what I say to Joel: “I’m so glad to be married to you.” :-)

It’s a joke now. I say that and we laugh and he says, “Another one?” I used to get really irritated by them though. We used to pray after each one...praying for complete deliverance from it, etc. Some would say (and some did actually say) that I wasn’t completely over it, wasn’t completely healed...that that was why I continued to have these dreams. Of course in my awake times, I felt completely over it. Honestly, it still made me sad to think about that time (still does to a certain extent), but I think that’s because it’s about a broken relationship. Broken relationships in general are sad things. But, we heeded their words, continued to pray about it, and in the end came to the conclusion that that was not the case...I was, in fact, healed.

So why those blasted dreams? :-) Well, after we came to the conclusion that I was healed and it wasn’t because of that, I think that God showed me 2 things:

1. Let me tell you, I can definitely relate to the brokenhearted after one of those dreams. There’s nothing like going through something yourself to actually give you the ability to empathize with others. It’s been, hmm, let’s see...12 years now (whoa...that’s incredible that it was that long ago) since we broke up. Over time, even though you have the experience, that feeling fades...esp. when you’ve been completely healed by God anyway. I don’t feel it at all, ever, on a day-to-day basis. If I’m talking to someone going through something similar, of course I can drudge up those feelings that I felt, but still...a very real dream that makes me feel like I am still even in it...that’ll do it.

2. It does give some incredible motivation to share that it doesn’t have to be that share what I learned about dating and all after the “big break-up.” I have to interject here that even though, in my life, it was a “big break-up” because it was the catalyst for so many things changing in my life, it was not a bitter thing. We happened to both be very mature about it. I was brokenhearted, he knew he wasn’t supposed to be with me anymore, but was very, very kind to me. He didn’t want to hurt me but knew he had to do what he did...yada yada yada. He was and is a great guy...I don’t want to paint a bad, “I’m the victim” picture. It was obviously the right thing to happen. He came to our wedding, we went to his wedding. We are not in contact unless we see each other (we are both from Saline), but when we do see each other, we just talk like all of my other old friends talk when we see each other, catching up. It’s funny...I’m sure that if we were in constant contact, he and Joel would be very good friends. And I love his super duper cute and sweet wife. She is very friendly. It definitely all shows great confidence, security, and maturity on our spouses’ parts be so totally fine with it all. I just wanted to make it all it is now. But, back to the is real motivation to show and tell others about the way it can be. Even though he was a great guy and I had a great time with him for those years, was I ever really supposed to be in that kind of relationship with him in the first place? Could the heartbreak have all been avoided? I did think that I was actually going to marry him and that’s really why I started going out with him in the first place, but did I really take that to God or decide that on my own? I didn’t really take it to God. Did I have any mentors speaking into my life (esp. ones that saw dating differently than the world’s way) that I asked their advice and opinions? No. I said, major motivation to keep spreading the word about a different way to all that are interested.

So, now we just laugh about my dreams. And, definitely take into account and appreciate them for what they are...a reminder, a motivation, a help in relating to others and really bearing others’ burdens. Although I am no longer brokenhearted, there are tons of brokenhearted people all around me all the time (all around all of us). It’s good to be reminded of those feelings from time to time. Of course, it also makes me really grateful for what I do have too. And as I told Joel this morning (to which he just laughed), I’m so very thankful.

Update #3

So very weird, but guess what? No pain here. I have the usual discomforts of late stage pregnancy, but even when I take a deep breath pain. No more tenderness in my belly/uterus either. Thanks for all the prayers.

Since I was feeling fine this afternoon and wasn't in a hurry to get the blood work results in order to see our next step as far as treatment, we didn't call and try to go get them. We are just going to wait until the morning...the doctor will be getting them herself then and we'll wait and talk to her about it all. We will probably also go ahead with the Doppler just "to make sure" all is well with baby (although we are sure it is)...and our doctor has helped us so much and wanted this test, so we will comply. It is scheduled for 2:30pm tomorrow.

Anyway, just wanted to tell you all that I'm feeling fine. I'm exhausted still and feel like I have no energy and no motivation to do anything, but is that because of the last couple of days or is that just being BIG, FAT, AND VERY PREGNANT?!? :-) Whatever the reason, I'm going to bed now.

Thanks again for the prayers. They obviously worked. Y'all are the best. And thank You, God!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Update #2

I slept really well last night. I think the pain medicine really kicked in and did me good. I can take it every 8 hours. I took it last night around 8:30 and then again this morning at 4am. Before I took it at 4 I was really hurting again. But, as of right now (it's 11:30am here) I could take it again, but I'm not really hurting that bad...not nearly like I was yesterday. Maybe the last pill just hasn't quite worn off yet. Maybe I actually am getting better. Healing or pain medicine...either way I do feel better. I'm still INCREDIBLY tired feeling though.

We went to the doctor first thing this morning. She checked my blood pressure and the baby's heartbeat again...I guess just because I was there. No concerns in those areas or anything. Everything continues to be normal. She read over the ultrasound results herself. The Doppler thing we ended up not being able to do today...we scheduled it for tomorrow afternoon. It will make sure the blood flow to the baby is normal and all...make sure there's no other reason for the baby being small other than just God's design for this baby.

After some putting my foot down, we were able to get my blood tests done today. It was so incredibly ridiculous. They told me that I would need to be fasting for at least 4 hours for these tests. We've been through this before and have just obliged before. Today I was done with obliging and decided, no, they would be taking my blood. :-) I'm a pretty compliant girl but when I know that something isn't necessary, they usually can tell that I'm not buying it. After much discussion and just pure dee stubbornness, they took my blood. I was also supposed to give a urine sample. Again, they told us that we needed to have the first urine of the morning. And again...I knew that wasn't necessary (not for what they are testing me for). So, thankfully it's all done...pee and all. The results should be ready by this afternoon.

Anyhoo, I'm going to really take it easy this afternoon. I do feel better, but when I start really moving around alot (like this morning when we were doing a good bit of walking and even driving...bouncing around in the car), I do start to hurt again. So, I am off to lay down and just lounge around the house. I will keep you posted though...and let you know the results when we get them. Thanks so much for the prayers from you all. Truly, we are feeling them. I know I'm feeling better because of them.

Full Story and Update

O.K., so you know that I had cramps and some back pain last Friday night during the night. I posted about it over the weekend. Those things had gone away by the time I woke up on Saturday morning.

But, last night during the night, I started cramping again (no back pain this time). It unfortunately did not go away this time. I've heard of girls "cramping" when in actuality, they are in labor. But, I kind of doubted that scenario, just because that's never been my way of laboring (not that labor is always the same, but I just had my doubts). Well, I could actually barely get around uterus was constantly tight and I just felt crampy. I started to feel a tad bit better around lunchtime (I had given the kids breakfast and had managed to put the girls down at 10am...then I had laid on the couch on my side until Joel got home). But, shortly after lunch I went to my room. At around 3pm I was going to lay down and go to sleep, but I was SO VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. Not only was my uterus completely tender and I was still cramping, but I then was very short of breath...and when I did breathe it was painful. Also, I tried to get the baby to move around a little bit and the baby was not wasn't moving at all. That scared me!

Long story short, Joel came home (Eliane was here and stayed with the kids thank goodness) and we went and saw our doctor here (remember, the Plan B doctor...Dr. Kenia). She looked me over, listened to the baby (sounded fine...had started moving again on the way to her office), checked me internally, said I wasn't in labor (not dilated or anything), and gave me a clean bill of health. What's the pain about then? So, we went and got an ultrasound.

The ultrasound also showed that everything was normal. BUT, there is one discrepancy...the baby should be showing that it is 36 weeks and some days old. It is actually measuring 34 weeks. The radiologist questioned it and when we told Dr. Kenia, she wanted to have us come in and check it out first thing in the morning. So, we will return to the doctor's office tomorrow morning...have some kind of Doppler something or other done and some blood work and hopefully see what's going on. She gave me some medicine for the pain.

We also called my other doctor in Goiania when we got home to update him and see what his thoughts were. He actually said that this late in the pregnancy, a 2 week discrepancy for size in the ultrasound isn't a really big deal. That was nice to hear. We asked him what he thought the pain was about and he said that it sounded like to him that I just had an infection of some kind and that the blood work would show us more tomorrow. He was glad she gave me the pain medicine and agreed that I should take I did.

I can't say that it's helped alot just yet, but I think it helped some. Hopefully I can at least sleep. I am completely exhausted. I actually took a little nap when we got home (after 7pm) and then dozed on the couch after I ate something (although I have no appetite). I am in a lot of pain though...and it's not fun. My belly area, my chest, and my back all really hurt...esp. if I don't breathe shallowly. Hopefully things will get resolved soon.

Baby is fine other than measuring small. He/she is actually measuring around 4 lbs. 15 oz. So very weird. I mean, I know that it's still fairly early (I'm not at the due date or anything), but that is just REALLY different from my other babies you know. We don't have normal size babies, much less small ones. Be praying about that. Placenta looks good, I don't have a hernia or anything, etc. I had been worried about infection or bleeding internally and thought maybe that was causing the tenderness in my belly is so tender...every time I move or the baby moves, it just kills me. But, no bleeding, thank goodness. And we'll find out about infection tomorrow.

Keep praying...thanks so much for keeping them coming. I know that because of that, we will be in good hands and a resolution will come quickly...and the baby and I will be completely healthy.

I'll update you again tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Yesterday was horrid. Ha ha ha. It seriously was. I was trying to do lots of things at once, trying to occupy my children with something other than me and the things that I usually do with them, and trying to keep them inside. Plus, Eissa was feeling really bad...totally clingy and I think just sick (she had some loose stools). All of the above...not a good combination. The equation for chaos for sure.

That's why I like a schedule...a routine. I'm talking about a schedule not just of naps and eating times, but of activities and such. I've talked about this before, but yesterday just reiterated this point to me. It was an off day.

I was just talking to someone about that this weekend actually. I was laughing about how it's so different to get used to that lots of things are so late here. I used the example of the 2 yr.-old's birthday party that we went to the other night that was at 7:30 at night. Note that I wasn't complaining about it or condemning them for doing it...not saying they were wrong and we are right, just saying that was one of the things to get used to. She stated that she thinks it's good to just go with the flow...that it makes kids more flexible. Although I agree with this to a certain point, I also know that as the norm., our kids do MUCH better if they get to bed at their bedtime.

The lady I was talking to 1) doesn't have small children anymore, so maybe she's forgotten exactly what it's like, and 2) never had this many small children (only has 2 children total and they are 4 years apart) (plus, as a side note, she may just think we are your stereotypical, anal, Type A Americans). I think that when you have children so close in age, and this many of them, you have to be a little more orderly and deliberate and purposeful in the things you do (even if you're not normally, by nature, routine and schedule type people). Not that we are anal about it at all...we still participate in activities, we still do lots of the things we would do even without children (we just take them along). As far as our kids go, they are not at all lacking in flexibility. I mean, come on...transition has been their lifestyles. New cities, new houses, new country, new language, new churches, new friends, new beds, new toys, saying goodbye to all of those things several times to embrace the new ones, travel galore, etc. Yeah, I'd dare say they've got flexibility down. So no...we never shun people and relationships for the sake of our schedule...but, at the same time, sometimes we just have to say no.

It's all about keeping it simple. Clutter is not good, whether it be in the organization of your home or the organization of your lives. I know families who do so many things that they don't enjoy each other and they don't really know each other. They do lots of things together, but don't really spend time together. They are too busy. If they have younger children, their kids tend to always be really fussy. If they have older children, they just really don't know them. They may not even understand this..."I'm with them all the time." Truth is that they are doing activities together all the time, but not really getting to know each other.

I love having this many children (and the thought of more), I love having them this close in age, and sometimes that requires that I love being disciplined enough to keep it simple...and I do love it. I first read about the 'simple life' as far as families go in a book by Elisabeth Elliot called, "The Shaping of a Christian Family." SUCH a great book. It just really made me think that sometimes we are too busy outside the home to be focused on the things that really matter inside the home...and too busy to be at peace. I'm not saying to not give focus to the ministry that God has placed on your heart outside the home. Of course even that is to be put in proper perspective and not above family. What I'm really talking about though has nothing to do with ministry...just extracurricular activities that oftentimes are not necessary and take away from the abundant family living that God has for your family. Really getting to know your children, really training them up to be the people God has for them to be, really enjoying each other. I'm not saying that we shouldn't do fun stuff either...I'm just talking about priorities and again...keeping it simple.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. This is SUCH a small example...something that didn't have huge effects or anything at all. But, still...a perfect example to me to keep it simple and know when to say no and keep my focus:

Asas de Socorro had a breakfast for all the flight training staff, students, and their families the day they started, on the 13th. We all went and it was great. It was held in the hangar. The breakfast and the little "ceremony" was held in a little room on the side of the hangar. Mostly the kiddos were just running around in the hangar while the breakfast was being eaten and everyone was milling around mingling. Then the ceremony started and everyone was being introduced and the vision of the year was being addressed. It was very nice...although I really wasn't in there for much of it. The kids had moved outside to play and I was just keeping an eye on them. I was outside with them when one of my children started to get a little out of hand and was really having a bad attitude. I needed to correct it and stuck my head into that room really quickly just to get the car keys from Joel. At just that moment, they were introducing the students and their wives and I was asked to go up front with Joel. Keep in mind that all 3 of my children were outside. There was another lady that had been outside with me and I thought quickly that, O.K., I will run up there and stand with him for a split-second and I'm sure the kids will be fine with my friend watching them. Even though I thought this, it was still against my better judgment...but I stayed, even though I didn't quite feel right about it.

Well, I should've gone with my gut. Come to find out, my friend, for whatever reason, apparently hadn't stayed with the kiddos. It only took a second to go up to the front and be introduced and prayed for, but while they were praying, of course I opened my eyes (as all mothers do) to survey the situation around me...see if one of the kids had come in. I was actually about to skip out of the prayer when Steve brought Eissa in. I went over to him and he said, "She was in the toilet bowl." Horror or horrors, esp. if you know me and esp. if you know my "love" for public toilets (sarcasm). Of course, I immediately washed her down and we left since at that point my youngest daughter was now only wearing a diaper (it was actually a bit on the chilly side that day, esp. at the windy airport).

So, that's what I'm talking about. I should've/could've kept life simple, told them no...that I couldn't stay in that room...watched out for my focus, which at that point needed to be my children playing outside, etc. The end result of that would've been a much happier and much more at peace family who 1) had good attitudes after a bit of correction (my intent in going in the little room in the first place), 2) was able to stay at the breakfast, fully clothed and at peace, 3) avoided a stressful situation as a result of a nasty toilet and having to clean, 4) been able to better participate in the Asas' breakfast in general (meet all the new people, etc.)...and the list could go on and on.

I'm just trying to keep it simple. That's my point. There's always peace in that.

Now, some pictures...

At the Asas breakfast. That's me in the middle in the black (I take my own table with me everywhere I go...ha ha ha). Such great people in that room!
Mingling and eating.
My beautiful baby girl, still with her clothes on...obviously before the toilet playtime.
The staff being introduced.
Even though we have Portuguese class in the afternoon, we've revamped our routine (had to after that first week was a bit chaotic) and now have a nice schedule that we go by in the mornings before the lunch rush and we're off to class. Every morning I put a load of laundry in. Around 10am the girls go down for a nap (Eissa has always done that; Hadley just needed a nap sometime during the day, so I tried to put her down with Eissa in the mornings since obviously she can't sleep with Eissa in the afternoons anymore and it worked perfectly) and me and Grady get to work. He helps me cook lunch and we do laundry together. This was the first time he had done this job and he loved it...he now does it everyday.
First we bring in the laundry from the day before, then he does this job, then we take out this laundry to hang. He's a great worker. It's great time spent together, he gets satisfaction out of a job well done, it helps me, he learns to be a part of the team of this family, and he learns to just work in general (something that, in reality, he will be doing all his life). Good training ground, the washer. :-)
By the way, saw this one day and decided to let Grady have a go at it. It's a really cute clip.

P.S. Pray for me today. My body is doing weird things. I know there's always the chance that my body is preparing for labor, there is also the chance that it is labor (no labor yet...I'm just saying some people, for instance, have just cramps and don't even know that it's "normal" labor has not started yet though)...but there is also the chance that I'm just sick in some other way (an infection or something). I have been cramping though (again, not usually what I do in labor, so don't be anxious for a post about a baby...still 3 1/2 weeks 'til due date). Pray that I will feel better and be back to my normal self soon. Thanks.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Playing Hookie

Despite the fact that I was just raving about our time in our Portuguese class yesterday, guess what we are doing today?

There are several reasons:
1. The kids are all flirting with sickness...all have varying degrees of runny noses and coughs and I just want to keep them in.
2. I'm TIRED!! We have been busy every single day since we started and even this weekend we have Hadley's birthday party on Saturday and another churrasco here with friends on Sunday...then, yep...a full week of class again. So, we're taking this day off because Mama is exhausted.
3. Even though I'm exhausted, I'm going to try to use this afternoon of hookie as a time to replenish some of the frozen meals that have been removed from our freezer. Oh how I wish I still had a deep freezer.
4. It's Joel's night to play security guard. Don't know if you remember this, but the students and faculty take turns guarding the hangar from 5:30 until about 10:30 at night (when the actual paid security guard takes over). Tonight's Joel's night. Joel does showers around here. He always does actually, but ESP. now with me so big and pregnant...Mama just don't move around like she used to (esp. the bend over part). So, this is a great day, given all the reasons plus this one, to keep the kids home, entertain them with some movies, keep them clean and occupied while I do some meals, let them relax and hopefully get over the sniffles and coughs, and just basically have an uneventful day. Let's hope those plans work out. Having an "uneventful" day with 3 kids 4 and under...and being big and pregnant...doesn't always pan out. But, it is definitely do-able.

Update: I wrote most of this at around 8:30am this morning. It is now 2:40pm and this has been anything but an uneventful day. Just now for instance, while I was disciplining one child for not obeying, the little one got in the cabinet and spilled barbecue sauce all over the floor and herself. These 3 seem like 14 kids today for some reason (that's never really happened before). Only 20 more minutes 'til the nap and movie though. I'm sure I'll make it. :-)

Alright, I'll stop blabbing, show you some pictures, and get to the rest of the day.

This is our doctor. This was at the last visit...our next appointment is this Thursday. I guess we'll have 1 or 2 more before the baby comes.

Our Valentine's lunch (that was supposed to be at the new Outback, but they were closed) at the mall. It was still delicioso...they have some really great mini-restaurant (nice restaurants) spots in the mall.
I was pretending to be Hadley. She likes to do her princess dance pose when taking pictures sometimes now.
Taken on our 7th anniversary, on the 17th.
Taken on Hadley's 3rd birthday, on the 20th.
She had gotten a few things from people for Christmas that we hadn't actually dispersed yet. So, because her birthday party isn't until this Saturday and we are giving her our special present then, we let her open up this gift...a couple of little fun cloth bags and some clothes for her doll (I think this was all from Thad and Wendy, although I don't really remember about the cloth bags...thanks again guys!!). She loved her present.
Along with tons of boxes of birth stuff, my mom just sent Grady some new clothes she picked up. Grady was dying to wear these today. He says, "Thanks Granny!!"
Yesterday we got the baby's room in order. Mama reminded me the other day that even though someone has never had a baby early before, they could just up and have one 16 days early or something (like my little brother). I'm not counting on that, but if it does happen that way, we are now ready. Even bought some newborn diapers. Obviously this room is being used as a study/library/storage room too. :-) But, at least the 4 little shelves of baby's stuff is nice and orderly.
Did this all yesterday. Yep, we're all ready for the new little one now (mostly anyway). Of course, we don't have any names, but that's beside the point. :-0

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Work and Portuguese Progress

Joel has been back to work/flight school at Asas for about a week and a half now. He went back on the 13th. Things are going well for him and he is off to a great start. He's flown a good bit this past week. There are lots of changes around the school...all really good it seems. We're excited to see what the rest of this semester/year holds.

The kids and I are doing well with our Portuguese class. Grady's teacher told me the other day that he is understanding many things now. Not bad for 2 weeks. I, too, am seeing MUCH progress. It's amazing what immersion can do. Of course, for me, I HAD to have other study (on my own) too so that I would know what in the world they were saying in that immersion...I had to at least be familiar and be able to recognize the words and forms of the words that were coming out of their mouths. It's going great. I'm actually able to hold a good conversation now with complete sentences (verbs and all). I'm slow, but still the ability is there. Again, amazing what 2 weeks (minus 1 day that we all missed because of my doctor's that's 40.5 hours total) can do...esp. around a lot of talkative women. What a great environment to be in for exponential learning. :-)

Hadley is doing well too. Even before we started going to classes, we were all sitting in the TV room one night. Eissa started playing with one of Hadley's toys and Hadley didn't want her to play with it. All of a sudden, she walked demandingly across the room saying, "Eissa, nao pode!!" I don't have a Portuguese keyboard, so I'm not able to put all the accents in, but the literal translation is "Eissa, no, you can't do that!!" So, she's doing fine and saying the things that she feels she needs to say, esp. that little phrase to her little sister. ;-)

I got to watch the kids in the classroom environment a little last Thursday. They both have Art class on Thursdays (every class has Art once a week). For Hadley's age group the teacher goes to their classroom. She told me I could go with her so I could watch. I was just so curious to know what the kids were like in their classrooms and I wanted to see if I could tell if they were able to comprehend. Hadley did great. She sat quietly (was more attentive than most the other kids who actually understand Portuguese) and listened to the story and participated really well. She was great, despite being slapped in the face while just sitting still in her chair by some boy next to her. I just sat quietly to see how it would be handled. Tears just silently rolled down Hadley's cheeks and the teachers intervened and handled the situation appropriately. Hadley, of course, recovered in lightening speed.

Grady was also really great in class. His class came to the Art room. The teacher went around the room asking the kids' names. I was busy working on covering a box (see picture below) while he was in there, but really paid attention too. Grady didn't hesitate at all when it was his turn to say his name. He participated as much as the other kids. When the teacher told them to go back to their classroom to get their colored pencils, Grady went and brought back colored pencils. All the other kids have little bags that they have their own personal pencils in. Grady didn't have one yet, but despite that fact, he was still able to communicate to the teacher somehow that he needed some pencils and he came back with a little can of them. He sat and listened to the story attentively, looked at a comic book that he was supposed to look at, and colored a picture. So, he's doing really well.

I know that I've talked about verbs before, but let me just give you an example of the magnitude of the verbage issue here, using "falar" which means "to speak":
I speak - Eu falo
You speak - Voce fala
We speak - Nos falamos
They speak - Eles falam
I spoke - Eu falei
You spoke - Voce falou
We spoke - Nos falamos
They spoke - Eles falaram
I had spoken - Eu falara
You had spoken - Voce falara
We had spoken - Nos falaramos
They had spoken - Eles falaram
I will speak - Eu falarei
You will speak - Voce falara
We will speak - Nos falaremos
They will speak - Eles falarao

Again, I don't have abilities to put accents with my keyboard, so there are accents missing, but you get the idea. And then there are several more that I didn't write out like "was speaking," "would speak," "have spoken," etc.

Basically it's purely just a matter of memorization. But, the point is that there is a lot to memorize in the area of verbs. It's a little over the top. They need to simplify their language in my opinion. :-) They didn't ask me though. Ha ha ha. Is spanish the same as far as verbs? I'm sure it is, but I just can't remember. Anyway, that's the bulk of what I'm working on now, along with just general vocabulary of course. It's nice to be able to talk in complete sentences. I'm still limited in that I don't always know the exact word I want to use, but I always manage to get my basic idea across.

Anyhoo, now for some pictures, of course.

Before Joel went back to work, he finished up this toy box for the kids. We love it. It matches the activity table and has a boy toys side and a girl toys side. He was going to build a book display to match too, but ran out of wood.
Eissa playing nearby while we were taking shots of the toy box.
Again, a play-by-play of the toy box pictures.
Notice the boxes on top of the toy box that Joel had made earlier. They now hold the mini-Tupperware set they got from Granny and the mini-pots and pans set they got from Grandma.

Eissa on to another toy.
Look at those curls.
Joel and Eissa picking us up at school the day before he had to go back to work. We walked to the corner to get some sugar cane juice from the vendor there, but he was out (bummer).
Notice the cute pigtails Eliane had put in her hair. We think Eliane has a lot of fun playing with Eissa.
These are the kinds of things I do. Yes, exciting things like wrap tomato sauce cans with string. It's weird, but I do kind of enjoy these mindless activities. It's good, too, since I'm trying to concentrate on really listening and understanding the conversation all around me while I'm doing it.
I do lots of tedious stuff, but thankfully it hasn't been anything that I could really mess up yet. I'm not all that crafty in case you didn't know. In fact, as far as giftings go, creativity is at the bottom of my list. Thankfully, far I've been O.K. in the arts and crafts room.
The cans in the first picture...the arts teacher spray paints them and then puts things in them...pens, pencils, popsicle sticks, etc. She spray painted the box too and used it for a container on display.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

36 Weeks and Churrasco

36 weeks today. I'm feeling fine, although last night was pretty crazy. I dreamed for what seemed like all night (I know that they say dreams only happen in the few seconds before you wake up, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it) that I was in labor. It was a nice midwife and her assistant were even here with us from Texas (ahh!...that would be nice). I woke up to realize that the reason I was dreaming it was because I was actually having contractions and really cramping a lot. I even had major back pain (I always have major back labor while in labor). I didn't think I was in real labor or anything (and I wasn't), but I was just really uncomfortable. I went to the bathroom and finally got back to sleep despite the cramping and back pain.

The kids woke up and because I hadn't slept much, Joel let me sleep in. When I woke up later, I had the WORST leg cramp I've even had in my life...and it lasted and lasted (and still is really sore). Oh, the joys of pregnancy.

While I have pretty strong Braxton-Hicks contractions throughout my pregnancies, my body seems to be really getting ready now. Funny though...I'm not. I still haven't gotten out any baby clothes. We don't have any newborn diapers or anything. We've eaten about half of those meals that I I need to replenish. I still need/want to go to Port. class every day. Our doctor is supposed to come to our house beforehand to see the "facilities" and just make sure he knows how to get here...he hasn't done that yet. And the biggie...we don't have all our stuff for the birth that is being shipped here from the states. Hopefully the rest of it will get here soon.

It would be nice to have this baby before the 19th of March. Our doctor's daughter is here visiting from the states. She lives in Atlanta now and this past year had a midwife-assisted birth of her own. She speaks English of course and it would be great to have her here at the birth. But, other than that reason and the fact that of course I'd just love to meet the new one and not be pregnant anymore...we're O.K. with not having the baby earlier than the due date.

I will go ahead and get all prepared like a good little girl. And, you can seriously pray that the baby comes before our doctor's daughter leaves...that would be nice. But, in reality I don't think we are in any danger of a really early baby. I've only ever delivered 2 days early. It's getting close though...we're excited. Oh, and it's happening now as it always does with shirts no longer cover my belly. Nice.

In other news, the house here that we live in is just a great house all the way around. We LOVE it and are totally being spoiled we are afraid. And it's not just the house, it's the whole area where we live on this seminary campus. It's wonderful. But, our house has a English that just means a built-in grill area. It's so very nice. A few weeks ago we had our first churrasco here.

Another couple that joined Asas also just moved into a house here on the seminary campus...up the hill from us. He (Ricardo) LOVES churrasco (as most Brazilians do) and jokes about how as long as he has his Bible and his grilling fork, that's all he really needs. Anyway, they came over and another family came (our friends from the UK...he is anyway, she's Brazilian...and their daughter Sara).

We are having another churrasco here tonight. Ricardo is in charge again with his handy grilling tools and all the Asas students and some staff are coming. Should be fun.

We'll be having Hadley's birthday party next Saturday so we are off to the store to get some school supplies and party stuff. Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hadley Cloteal is 3

Yep, she is. And she is still crazy as ever. At this point, if I had to describe my kiddos in one word, Grady would still be "sweet." Eissa would be "goofy" (she is quite the comedian and goofball). And, usual...just "crazy."

She completely cracks me up constantly. She still puts her hand on her hip to tell me something. She loves girly things, but also loves to ride her bike and get really dirty. She is very much a leader and is so makes me laugh. Yesterday when I took her to class, she walked in like she was the star of the place. Don't get me's not an obnoxious kind of show-off thing...otherwise I would not be smiling/laughing about that...we would be training and disciplining. It's not like that. It's just...she is very confident in who she is...even at 3 years old.

The other morning she woke me up at 6:15am. Sometimes she'll come in and say, "I'm thirsty." Sometimes it's "I want to put my dress (Cinderella dress) on" or "I want to lay with you." Yeah...this time she said, "Mama, I want to get married." It is VERY, VERY rare that I laugh at 6:15am, but that's what I did that morning.

Although she has her feisty side, she is also very sweet. She loves her brother and sister...and her parents (thank goodness). She loves her "friends" (I ask her all the time what her friends' names are...she looks at me bewildered and says, "friends"). She is very friendly.

Because of her confidence and feistiness, she isn't always "compliant." But, we're working on that and hopefully steering those good qualities in a direction that will be used for Godliness.

We're excited to see who she will become and what God has for her. She and her brother are great complements to each other, that's for sure. It's fun to watch. HAPPY BIRTHDAY HADLEY!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

7 Years Today





Saturday, February 16, 2008

Comment Question

Some of you could probably CARE LESS about all this talk on this subject. Either you are totally not at this point in your life or you think that people who discuss things at length are just making things too complicated. Either way, just bear with us.

SUCH a great question that Holly brought up yesterday in the comments. I started to just email her and started to just reply in the comment section, but it would be way too long...AND she did say she wondered about the opinions of the readers of this blog. So, I thought I'd just post her comment here, reply to it myself, and then let you also share your thoughts if you want to. Here's what Holly said...

Oh, ugh, Michawn...

I feel much the same as you do...that each couple should seek God's plan in regards to children.

I am wondering, though, and I really, really hope it is okay to bring up here. (You seem open to talk about things....)

I have heard this before, and am wondering what you and your readers think. Do you really think that God tells married people to NOT have kids? Are there any scriptures that we can point to to support that? Or...are married people generally supposed to have children (unless they are infertile, or unless their health prohibits it, or genetic problems which are inconsistent with life...)

I have heard some say that perhaps God does call some to be purposefully childless...and yet in which case perhaps he also calls them to remain unmarried.

I dunno for sure what I think...but I tend to the side that says married people should have kids - even ministry people should have kids. On the other hand, I'm not inside their heads or hearts and can't know for sure what God has said! :)

Just wonderin'....

So, gosh...I wonder too. :-) Are there any people in the Bible that we can point to that didn't have children because of ministry? I can't think of any off the top of my head. I can think of several examples of women who wanted children and couldn't have least not until the perfect time for God's purposes to prevail, even when it seemed ridiculous to be having a child for that lady. But, are there any who were kept from having children because of ministry purposes? I need to do a study on that.

But, I guess my reasoning in this comes from the people I know who believe they are supposed to remain childless. First of all, I think this is a rare thing/calling. But, I guess I just think that just like God can call someone to being single, he can call a married couple to be childless. Although, like I said, can't point to an example of the latter in scripture like I can of the former.

The people I know who feel called to this literally travel around the country probably 95% of the year. The husband and wife work together, so it's not like the wife could stay home with the kids if they had them (not that that is ideal either, but it's done). They are SO called to this ministry and SO very effective in reaching this generation. It is definitely a God thing. But, as much as having children is also a God thing, that lifestyle would so not be fair to a child...and so not even be possible.

I should also point out here that they have shared with me before that they are completely open and could see themselves possibly adopting an older child at some point in their lives...even if they are still traveling some. What a ministry in and of itself! So, it's not like they are just selfish and don't want children. I know another couple in a similar situation who also feel called to childlessness.

So, just because of those examples...that's the only reason I believe the way I do. Because I just know these people and their lives and trust that they hear God. It's truly none of my business either way with these particular couples anyway, but I'm just giving them as examples of why I think the way I do about it. Again, I think it's rare. My bottom line (in my own thinking) is that everyone should pray about how many to have and hear from God. I guess I just think that number could even be zero. It's a loaded discussion question, that's for sure. But, one that is worth discussing I think...very interesting stuff.

So, that's kind of where I am with it thoughts on the subject (at this point anyway). We would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. This is a potential big-can-of-worms question though, so nice.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Our Valentine's Day

Thanks so much for all the support in the comments yesterday.

Quick clarification I wanted to make: I, in no way, was trying to imply that all people should have a large family. The point, as I've made before, is that everyone should seek God on it and not just do what they think is best or the most logical or most "responsible" in their own thinking.

Some, after seeking God, will have just 2 kids...some will have 1...some...they will have no children. I know several couples who, for example for ministry reasons, and just because of their lifestyles in their ministries (traveling non-stop for instance) feel that God has definitely called them to remain childless. The point is to actually ask God and not just make your own decisions.

Just wanted to make that clear. And, thanks so much for all the fun comments.

In other news, we went to the doctor again yesterday for Valentine's Day. :-) Everything checked out fine. The baby's heart rate was 152. Funny...I'm actually measuring a little small...first time that's ever happened. You wouldn't know it looking at my belly, but the thing about my belly is that that's where most of my extra weight generally goes anyway. So, although it's good when I'm pregnant because everyone just looks at me and says, "you're all belly," the sad reality is that it's actually belly + fat. I'm an apple, what can I say? (you know, pear people tend to have their extra weight distributed more in their hips and hiney) Unfortunately, after the baby comes, I will still have a large belly to get rid of...but that's another subject that I've already talked about before. Moving on.

The appointment went well. Then it was off to lunch. They opened a new Outback in Goiania recently and we planned to go there for a Valentine's treat. We were told that they would be open for lunch, but they weren't. So, we ate in the mall instead and had a great time just relaxing on some couches, reading books in the really nice bookstore they have there (similar to Barnes & Noble). I haven't done that sort of thing in nice to just relax in a bookstore. They have a great coffee shop in there too, so we got some drinks. Ahh.

Then we were off to another appointment (we actually had 3 appointments for yesterday, but ended up cancelling one) with the pediatrician who will be accompanying our doctor for the birth. Our doctor's name is Dr. Luiz Carlos. The pediatrician, a woman, is Dr. Ione (doctors go by their first names here). It went well too, although she's a bit on edge about the whole homebirth thing. I think she thinks it's a little crazy and is a little fearful of the whole thing, but at the same time is excited to see something so great and natural. We'll see how she does. If she starts with any negativity while here, I will have to ask her to leave. Not allowed in my births, thank you. I think she'll be fine though. Let's hope.

Then it was home to shower, read to the kids and put them down, and hmm...catch up with the internet world. The kids didn't go to Portuguese class yesterday since we were gone. Today we will head back. It was a good break from it yesterday. I'm thinking it might be a good thing after all to only go Monday, Wednesday, Friday...good for all of us...kind of take a break and reconnect with each other on Tuesday and Thursday and not be in such a rush. We'll see how next week goes.

Be praying for us though. The kids are SO out of whack, esp. Eissa. Instead of the kiddos sleeping later since they are tired, they are waking up earlier (parents, you know that strange phenomenon of young children)...therefore, they are just totally whacked...and so are their parents. Eissa stays here and supposedly keeps the same schedule, but that hasn't rung true...she is waking up like 2 hours earlier in the morning. She is SO VERY fussy all the time. It's only been a week and hopefully this will all get balanced out. But, bottom line is that if it doesn't get straightened out soon, Portuguese class, as good as the benefits of it could be, will not be worth the chaos it brings to our family. Another post about chaos in families coming soon. Thanks for the prayers.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Our New Answer

Joel was asked yet again the other day, "Why are y'all having such a large family?"

This is the answer that we've come up with that pretty much stops people in their tracks. We tell them that God hasn't told us to stop having children. We ask them if God told them to stop at just 2, or if that was just the status quo (just what people do) and so they thought that was the responsible thing to do. Did they really pray about it? Did they truly hear God clearly about not having more children, or did they just do what was convenient and logical.

The convenient and logical thing for us to do would be to stop having children...hello. That is pretty much a no-brainer. Let our kids grow and become more independent so that we can do more things independently too, rather than starting over all the time...sleepless nights, diapers galore, laundry out the wazoo. It would be less expensive to do things like take a furlough. It would be way more convenient to find a place to stay when we do go on furlough. We would need less support probably. These are things that, we esp. (since we are missionaries), hear.

The other day I was talking to another missionary lady. We were talking about when we planned to go on our first furlough and for how long we would stay. I said something about how there were so many factors leading to the answer to that question and told her a few. One of the things I mentioned was that "I think too, will I be pregnant again at that point and delivering in the states?" She laughed and asked incredulously, "How many kids do you plan to have?" I told her we didn't know yet. She said, "Well, it's a lot of work." Really? Gosh, I hadn't noticed. :-)

Seriously, of course it is. But, I don't think I'll be making the decision to limit the amount of children God wants to give me on the basis that it's hard work. How lame.

Gone are the days where having a large family is looked upon as a great thing...and by large, these days, that means 3-4 kids. Ridiculous.

It boils down to this...God will tell us when he's done with my uterus. :-) He hasn't told us that yet. It's that simple.

By the way, Happy Valentine's Day!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Class Report

So I didn't really want to give the full report of Portuguese class yesterday. Why? Because was a rough day. I didn't even want to talk about it just yet.

Basically it boils down to tears and falls. The tears part was from me...and not from what you might think. No, it was because of something other than dropping the kids off at class (that's all I'll say), but I just couldn't stop crying. Of course, all the ladies there at the school thought that was what it was about and kept coming to me asking me if I was feeling was my heart, etc. It was sweet, but actually quite annoying since all I really wanted to do was go home and cry some more. Wasn't in the mood to be social or even nice...but, I made myself do both. :-)

Then, after we'd been there about an hour and a half (I had finally stopped crying for the most part and was in the office area working), I walked to the door of the office to see if I could take a gander at Grady or Hadley. Grady's class was out having recess in the gym area just outside the office, so I got to watch him for a bit. I was far away, but he managed to still see me. He just smiled and waved and I smiled and waved back. Then he started running around with this big smile on his face. Well, in the middle of his running he and another bigger boy were about to intersect. The other boy, probably just in reaction (a reflex kind of thing), threw up his hands. He and Grady were both running fast and at the time their paths crossed, this other boy was at Grady's left side...and he basically T-boned Grady. Grady, who was kind of leaning forward while running, went flying sideways threw the air in a Superman pose for about 5 ft. Then, of course, landed really hard in a belly flop. Ouch.

I, at that point, had kind of stepped back. I don't think he looked for me, but he would've have been able to see me anyway. I just watched to see what he would do. He started crying and ran to his class and his teacher. I just stayed out front there, out of view...if it could be handled without me, I thought that would be good (of course, I wanted to run to him immediately, but thought it best I didn't). Well, soon Grady and his teacher (and all their followers...the crowd had gathered) came to the door and asked me to come out. I went out and Grady was of those catch-your-breath kind of cries. He kept saying, "I just want to go home." Well, of course that made me start crying again. So, we just sat there in the gym and both cried. :-)

Brazilians tend to be very, very helpful...the American translation for that would probably be "smothering." :-) It was just a bad situation. They truly were just trying to help, but it was only making it worse. I was trying to talk to Grady and he was crying...I would get him settled and just be talking to him when they would come back up and try to get him to go with them to play. They kept bringing him Legos and blocks and suggesting things, when all we needed was to be left alone for a while. Poor things...they really were so sweet and trying to help...but it wasn't helping. I REALLY wanted to go home after all this. Everytime Grady asked to go home, I really just wanted to say, "O.K., let's go." But, I knew that wasn't the right thing to we stuck it out.

We cried for a while. Then he did end up playing again, with me (SO VERY pregnant) sitting on the gym floor with him (in a skirt). After a while we joked around a little, even smiled and laughed some, and I left...and he went back to class.

All day long the helpful Brazilians would come and see how I was doing...ask how my heart of a mother was doing. Eeeesh. I just didn't even try to explain that I wasn't crying about the kids. Then someone said something about Grady and how it was normal to cry on the first day. I was thinking, yeah, if you did the Superman fly threw the air trick and landed on your chest/belly, you'd cry too. What he was crying about had nothing to do with his first day of class.

Needless to say, it was just an overall frustrating and rough day. But, that's why I didn't want to post about it yesterday before our 2nd day. I just knew that our 2nd day would be different. was. Joel even went and explained for me that I wasn't crying about the "mother heart" thing and dropping off the kids. He explained to Grady's teacher that his crying was all about the fall. So, was just an overall better day...great actually.

I am seriously continuously amazed at our kids and how they adapt so well. They really can't understand a thing of what's being said. I can relate...I'm sure they can guess at things and pick up some things. But, even though they are kids and pick things up quickly, they've never studied Portuguese like me and haven't been exposed to it that much really. So, I can understand alot, although I miss out on lots of the details. I'm really not sure how much they even understand though. They, or course, could care less. They LOVE going to class...anywhere. If there are other kids their age (don't even have to be their age actually), they can't wait.

It's so funny too...just like anywhere else, there are so many kids at this school that cling to their parents and just cry about being dropped off. My kids just look at them like, "what in the world is wrong with them?" It's hilarious. I want to say to those crying kids, "Oh my gosh...stop know the language for heaven's sake." :-) It's hilarious to me.

Anyway, yes...we had a rough start. But, we had a wonderful day yesterday and plan for that trend to continue. The kids are loving their classes. And I am doing fine too. I miss my kids because even though I'm in the same vicinity as them, I don't see them for that 4 1/2 hours. And of course Eissa is not there at all. But, it's good...and only for a season. I'm excited to see our progression in the language at the end of this season. Just this morning I was talking to one of our neighbors (they are also missionaries with Asas de Socorro) and she has lived in the states for a time. She moved there when she was 9. She said they got there one day and the next day her father was enrolling them in school (I know that Joel's dad, 7 yrs. old when he moved to Brasil, had a similar experience). She said that within 5 months she was speaking English. She said that her mother was there for 2 1/2 years and still didn't really pick it up that well. Hopefully by me going to the school with them, I will pick it up much better.

I even got to translate a bit yesterday, much to my surprise. I was sitting in the arts and crafts class and a new boy (it was also his 2nd day) was in the class. Where is he from? Colorado of all places. Speaks English...not a lick of Portuguese. I asked him why they moved here and he said that he has family here and apparently the family member who have moved's a tradition for them to come back and live for about 6 months or so. I thought that was great...he'll pick up the language and learn the culture of his family. They've been here about a week though. I was able to tell him what the teacher was wanting him to do for class.

Yep, a really good day. We're excited about Portuguese class.

Now, some pictures...

Saturday we were invited to Goiania to hang out with some friends. We went to Tatiane's parent's house and had a meal and stayed all afternoon. It was lots of fun. Tatiane is the one who got married back in July...we went to her may remember the pictures. But, in this picture is Carmen, Tatiane, Bia, Pedro, and me. Carmen and her family, by the way, have so generously offered to come and get the kids whenever I go into labor. So, the kids will LOVE that...and they will be very well taken care of for sure.
They have a great pool...a great house for that matter.
I love all you sweet, sweet people who keep saying nice things about how I look good pregnant and only have the baby belly. But, look...the back don't lie. I have obviously gained some fluff everywhere. I'm O.K. with that...I'm's alright to be fat when pregnant...I will lose it. But, just wanted to be real. I hate back fat.

This piano belonged to Joel and his family when they lived here. It has been redone, but is the same piano that Joel played on growing up. Pretty cool.

Singing her little heart out.
That night we had a birthday party to go to. I'm still amazed at how late things are here. It was a birthday party for a 2 yr. 7:30 at night. It was fun. They had a trampoline there that the kids, of course, loved. Look at that air that she's getting courtesy of her big brother jumps.

Rafael, the big 2 yr. old birthday boy.
They really go all out for birthday parties here. Well, some do, not all. But, this was an all-out party.
Eissa wasn't with us much that night. :-) She has a few groupies there at church.
The party theme was of a kids' show here, so they showed some clips and apparently they do like little fun music videos...the characters of this show (me and Joel had never heard of this show or these characters). Anyway, this was when there were music videos playing. The girls had to dance.
And Grady had to watch.