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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's a marathon, folks




Things have been whirling along a break-neck speed ever since Aleni was born. And really, it's mostly none of her fault, since she is about the easiest baby in the world.


Most days, I stumble off to bed feeling tired to the bone, yet having finished nothing. It seems that the to-do list only gets longer and the minutes get shorter. That the harder we run, the less we accomplish.


I have heard myself whispering (if only to myself) "Once things slow down...." Telling myself this is a soon-ending state of affairs. Somewhat like the mental difference of running a marathon and sprinting 200 meters. One you dig deep and settle into a steady pace that you can hold for a loooong time... and the other you suck in a deep gulp of air and go for it.


Today, I was showering and thinking, "Once things slow down a little--" and then I stopped. An image flashed into my mind of a person I know that often heaves a heavy-hearted and suffering sigh as they mouthed those same words. Over days, months, and years. A lifetime, really. Of not enjoying the present--of looking ever-longingly into a future that never came.


It then hit me: This is the new normal. This is my pace, my stride, my race. I need to wrap my mind around that, get into a rhthym I can sustain for however long it takes--and figure out how to thrive in it.


Now to find that rhthym.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Faddish

I know it may be somewhat of a craze or a fad at this point... but all this talk about "going green", eating as close to the source as possible, taking care of the planet (you know what I'm talking about) has been seeping in to my consciousness, and I've begun to try to make small changes.

I'm not one to jump into thing that seem to be the "in" thing at the moment. I usually try to sidle in sideways while looking another direction, hoping no one notices. I hate being accused of copying. Originality at all costs.

I also lack the concentration and discipline (and perhaps time!) to become an extremist at anything. Mostly, I try to do what I can and don't stress about it. Or, often I just forget!

However, here in Mexico, I think I may be a little easier to become a "conservationalist" to some extent. Man, they are not into throwing things away and they know how to re-use a thing all the way to its death bed. At first, I may have been seen rolling my eyes at what I perceived to be "hoarding". "Get rid of the junk, people!" I might have said once or twice.

And it might be hoarding for some, for others it is seeing potential in something we might just see as garbage.

So, I am trying more.

For example, we have some faucets that are "drippers". I used to just crank them as tight as I could and dismiss it to Rey's to-do list. Now, I keep bowls below the faucets and the water is used to water my flowers, wash the dishes or fill the bath tub. I've also started giving Noah baths in our baby tub as opposed to our humongous bathtub. A lot less water used there. Ah, and bath water then becomes mop water. I haven't thought of a way to re-use the black mop water. It goes down the toilet.

Another small thing I have started doing is saving plastic food containers. I never liked how it looked to have yogurt and margarine containers mixed in with my Tupperware... but, hey! It's functional. And since dishes hardly ever come back when you send food to people, I can use those and not feel even a twinge of annoyance at the thought of never laying my eyes on them again.

There's all kinds of other stuff I think about doing: making/freezing baby food, learning how to can, making laundry soap. I usually think about it, and then get discouraged in thinking about the time and MESS (noooo mooooore messes please!!) it would involve. So, those are still just in the thought stage now.

I have started "making" my own beans, now. As opposed to buying cans. I don't know if it is the altitude/dryness here, but wowsers those things have to boil forever. Like 5 hours. So then I am tabulating if the cost of gas is coming out to be the same as the cost of the can? Anyone else have this problem? It is also true with cooking rice-- here I have to use 3 times the amount of water as rice... as opposed to 2. I digress...

Well, tell me what kind of planet/health-friendly things you are doing these days. Keep in mind I can't commit to something that takes a lot of time at this point. Simple ideas would be highly appreciated!!! :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thanks for the Reminder


This morning, Rey, Noah and I went down to the cafeteria area on the floor below ours to have coffee with a group of Americans that was leaving at noon. Our pleasantries were interrupted by the arrival of a fellow missionary and the adult daughter of our downstairs neighbors. I will call her Mariela. As I greeted Mariela, I asked her how she was--noting it seemed she'd been crying and that there were dark circles under her eyes. She said she was good.
She asked if she could say something to the group. Now, this group has been coming down and supporting many works here in Fresnillo for over 10 years, so she has known them for awhile--if only from afar. Weeping, she first thanked the group for their faithful love and support, and then began to share of the deep hurt and pain she was feeling. Her father has been in ministry all her life, and she shared how her and her sister never felt like he had time for them. That they were always last on his list, never remembered. She said that they felt damaged, heart-broken and hurt. Mariela said just yesterday, her dad had told her he was sick of ministry and was just going to get out of it for good.
"If that is true, what value was all this??" she cried to us, "What did it matter all we suffered?"
As she poured out her heart to us, tears were also pouring down my own cheeks. You see, before deciding to go into ministry full-time, Rey and I agreed on one thing: Family before ministry. We can make all kinds of mistaken decisions, pour our time into wrong places--but what we invest in our children will never be in vain.
We all prayed over Mariela, asking God to pour out His healing love in her heart and lift her up. I prayed these things, and I also prayed that not one of my children would find themselves in her position 10, 15, 20 years from now.
Family is our ministry.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happily... I had already planned on mopping the floor






Today's Noah News comes to you courtesy of... well, Noah himself.

Yesterday was Rey's monthly trip to the Indian Village. Usually they leave around 7 am and get back around midnight. So, I know I'm in for a long day.

I had a big list of things I wanted to get done. All the laundry--bedding also. Wash the floors in the apartment. And, mainly, keep all of us sufficiently happy and sane.

As I was hanging out the first load of laundry, Noah was accompanying me. The dog's food and water bowls are there nearby, and Noah decided to insert one foot into the water bowl. Sigh. One pair of shoes out on the balcony to dry. New pair of socks.

I also am realizing that Noah has decided the neatest little game--finding anything small enough and throwing it down the drain hole on the roof (he knows how to pull the cover off). I do believe all of the dog's toys are down there. Also, I am betting on some of the neighbor's kitchen things being found there. I am sure there are two balls and a bunch of rocks. Ahh, well. Rey's to-do list isn't long enough. I put a large rock over the hole, but he has been able to scoot it off.

Mid-morning, I walked out of the room Noah was in for about 5 minutes. I heard him talking to the dog... and when I walked back into the room, I noticed Noah was laying on the floor. Was that a puddle of dog pee? I went over to inspect, and saw the bottle of apple juice laying on the floor next to Noah. Oh, yes. He was laying in a 10-foot wide puddle of apple juice, rolling actually.

I made the "Home Alone" face--clasping my hands to my cheeks in horror. Noah slowly stood, dripping juice from every corner, and clasped his hands to his cheeks, equally horrified. I counted to 10, and carried Noah across the apartment to the bath tub where he received a cold wash down.

Noah was placed in his room while I did a quick mop-up of the juice. Now I was really sticky and smelling of an odd, stagnant odor and there was another pair of shoes out on the balcony, drying.

I headed over to the sink to wash dishes, and found myself standing in a huge puddle. What?? Now you know in Mexico, we don't "drink the water". We buy it in 5 gallon jugs which we place upside down on a dispenser. (Somewhat like the one below)






Well, Noah loves to reach up and pull on the tab for water to come out, and it is forbidden--so, double the fun. He must have been pulling on it and broke the tab, before seeing the juice on the counter and coming up with the even "funner" plan of juice diving.

So, water was steadily dripping from the dispenser, which meant I needed to pull the jug off the dispenser. Have you ever tried to lift and flip a five gallon bottle?? It was pretty close to full, so my execution was less than graceful and ended with more water on the floor and water all over the counter. Fun.

Was it nap time yet? It soon was, and the afternoon passed fairly uneventfully. Well, later I did go up to do more laundry and found a whole bag of broken eggs. (Here in the small stores, they sell eggs by kilo and give it to you in bags) He must have found them in the neighbors cupboard (which is sitting out in the open) and lived his dream: Throwing these awesome, perfectly-sized balls. Something mom has never let him do. Sigh. Ran eggs up to replace those.
And then, he did decide to relieve his bowels in the bathtub. Hmm, maybe it wasn't so uneventful.


IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Noah has learned to work door knobs. Note to self: Lock doors.



  • Noah is "deep" in the copying stage. He copies everything he sees. Cutest part of this: Him using anything like a mic to sing into. Scariest part of this: Him trying to shave his upper lip. Agghhhh!


"What do you want??"

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I'm not so good at this...


Well, I am completely honored to have been chosen by my soccer-lovin' friend, Sarah for a blog award. I am always thrilled when people read my stuff, so thanks!! Sarah writes about her life, posts recipes and whatever else might be going on. I am excited that she is studying to be a doula... might use her some day! Haha...

What I am bad at is knowing who to pass the award on to... I am not going to copy the rule list, because I don't think I can do any of them!! (I don't have 15 friends that blog... I mostly stalk people I don't know, haha. I think people already know 7 things about me...etc.)

But, check out the blogs on my "Enjoyable Reads" list if you're short on things to do. They are indeed "enjoyable"--and often insightful!!

Thanks again, Sarah!! :)

It Was Nice

I haven't found Mexico to be the most "complementary" place. No, I have encountered a lot more criticism than praise, more wrongs than rights.

So, it was Thursday was huge for me. I received not one, not two, but three compliments on my mommying. All from separate people at separate times. Women! I don't know that I have received that many in all my time in Mexico!

The first one told me she loved how I interact with the babies. She believes they will be extra-smart because of the way I am always talking and playing with them.

The next one told me she loves how I keep to my babies' sleep schedules. That I am not dragging them out all over the country at all hours of the day or night.

The last one told me that I was a very patient mama. "You know how to be a mommy". (I told her she hadn't seen me at home...)

Wow. I sure am glad I went out with Rey that day!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bric-a-brac

Definition: "miscellaneous, small articles gathered for their antiquarian, sentimental, decorative or other interest". Also, "without rhyme or reason".

That basically describes my thinking processes in a typical day. There are often too many interruptions and too little inspiration to inspire a psychologically stimulating and chronological thought pattern. Oh, no. Just miscellaneous, small thoughts that flit through my head.


Such as....



  • Our dog Canela really needs to get some help. I may need to call the show "Hoarders: Buried Alive" for an intervention. She has her blanket in a corner that she sleeps on, and it is often the excitement of the day to go over and peek at what treasures she has brought there. She is constantly rummaging through Noah's toys and than happily trotting across the house with something in her mouth to add to her stash of her toys. She also enjoys finding eggshells in the neighbors trashcan and bringing them to her blanket. Gross. She loves pens and crayons. I don't know--really anything she can fit into her mouth.



  • My skin drives me crazy! No, no--not the color or anything like that. It is just soooo oober-sensitive to whatever, and I hate it! Things like swimming, sweating, shaving, wearing shorts on a really windy day--yeah, those things can irritate it. And then, it feels like a million fire ants are crawling under my skin until it decides to calm down. Last night, I was sitting up until 1 am awaiting just that: that it would decide to calm down. Grrr...



  • My former-cave-dweller son has now decided sleeping with a night light is a must. From the time he was born, he has needed such pitch-blackness to sleep that it had us searching our family trees to see if "bat" was listed as a relation to us. Don't know what caused the change--but glad to have figured out that is what was causing the "going-to-bed tantrums"!



  • These days, I've just been way too tired to cry. And, if you grew up with me, you know that is saying a lot. Even if I poke myself in the eye and think, "My dog just died"... it doesn't work. (Obscure quote from "The Man Who Knew Too Little")



  • So, the other day, I was standing in front of the cupboard getting ready to set the table, and I was asking myself, "Good plates or disposable?" I realized my "good plates" are plastic. Hmm. Must have babies in the home.



  • Ok, so here's a cultural thing about Mexico that I try to respect...but don't understand: Why is it considered sooo indecent for a woman's calves to be "out in the open"... yet it's just fine to wear "spray-painted-on jeans" and shirts that are letting everything hang out?? Forgive me, but I'll keep wearing my bermudas and t-shirts--and feeling like I'm just as decent as can be.



  • You know, birthdays with babies are just like any other day. They don't know that maybe you'd like to sleep in 'till 10 and then spend the rest of the day eating popcorn and watching movies. They don't change their own diapers and heat up their own dinners. But, they will someday. So, it's ok. And, maybe that's why the love of friends can mean a lot more to a person when they have babies! (Thank you!!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cumpleaños Interrupted


So, it's been since before Aleni was born that Rey and I have gone anywhere together alone. At least 5 months...I want to say maybe 7? And, we went on a hair-raising, not-so-relaxing 3-month travel across many miles. Also, it has been non-stop, don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-something action around here since we landed. Rey has been "in between" these weeks: In between a phone call and a trip to the mechanics. Between counseling team members and getting things organized. I basically have meals ready at the right times, pray for him before he leaves and try to prop myself awake until he gets back home. All this to say: I was more than ready for my birthday on Monday. Why? Because a nice guy named Derek is here for the summer, and he said he could hang out at our apartment after the kids were down, and Rey and I could go. Out. On the town. Without stroller, diaper bag, burp rags--or the accompanying child. I would have Rey all to myself for 3--maybe 4--hours.

I keep forgetting! I always forget--we live in Mexico, helloooo. Don't make plans. That's the worst.

On Sunday, a phone call came for Rey (as always). After he hung up, I asked who it was. It was a friend of ours from where we used to live (Rio Bravo). "Ah," says I, "What did he want?" No, Rey said: He was just saying "hi". Ah, ok. In the back of my mind, I knew this friend had said he was going to come some time to record with another friend here in Fresnillo. I should have pressed Rey for more details, but I didn't.

On Monday, I awoke to a sweet card on the table from Rey and the babies. Rey had also written a note on the bathroom mirror with an erasable marker. Aww, great start!
Around 10 am, Rey said that the "Rio Bravo Friend & Family" was on his way here. What?! On my birthday? "So," I say, "What does that do to our plans?" No, everything will stay the same. We will chat with them, and then they will want to relax from the trip and we'll go out. Okee dokee. (Why, oh why, do I allow myself to believe??)

It seemed as if the day crawled by. Would it never be bedtime?? I was washing dishes when the family arrived. Rey went to open the gate for them and help them unpack. A few minutes later, it sounded as if a mariachi was at my front door. The family was there, singing "Las Mañanitas" (a traditional birthday song) for me. They came in, wished me well, prayed for me and said they were going to pay for Rey and my dinner that night. How sweet.

We sat around and chatted about the trip. After awhile, they stood up to go get settled in their room. The friend asked, "So, what time should we come over?" I was a little confused. Come over... to go out to eat. Together. Ah. Well, we had said 8--after the kids were in bed. 8 it was, he said. And his girls could watch the house.

I wasn't too happy. But, I should have seen it coming. In Mexico, spouses just don't do date nights. I mean, why? And, birthdays are huge party affairs. You invite over all your friends, neighbors and their dogs and cats. So, of course when Rey said, "It's Liz's birthday and we are planning on going out to eat"--they understood the "we" to include "them".

And--the idea of his girls staying. Nothing against them--but I know the "Mexican girl mindset". It is: "I know what to do with babies and I don't need to listen to what you say about what to do with them." So, I wasn't happy about that. I wanted Derek--because I knew he would just call us if one of them started crying, as opposed to going in and trying to "mommy" the situation.

I went through the motions of getting ready, but I wasn't happy about that either. I was looking forward to getting "really" dressed up, and it doesn't really feel right when you are going with another couple. In their 40's. Who you don't know that well.

We got in the van to go, and the friend said, "Ahhh. This is great. I've been wanting to get out with just my wife. You have nooo idea how hard it is to get away...." Oh, but yes. We do.

The meal was nice. I was serenaded once again at the dinner table (Did I mention I don't really enjoy being sung to--except by Rey? I mean--akward!). I asked Rey halfway through the meal if the girls had called him. No, he said. But they were going to text their dad if anything happen (don't know why the dad and not Rey).

We got home to a brightly lit home. A lot of running and talking was going on. One little girl ran down: "Oh, man. Where have you been, the babies are crying and crying..." Noooo, I moaned inwardly and went to the room they were staying in.

The TV was on, and Noah was sitting, hunched down on a footstool in front of it. The oldest daughter looked at me with haunted eyes, bouncing a red-eyed Aleni. "Holaaa," I said as calmly and cheerily as I could manage.

Noah turned to me with the most terrified eyes I've ever seen him have and his face crumpled as though all of his resolve at bravery melted at the sound of my voice. He was literally trembling as he reached for me. I scooped him up in my arms, remembered to say the most sincere "thank you" I could muster, and headed back to our apartment. I passed the friend who was saying, "...I just now got the text, can you believe it??" I wanted to cry with Noah. I know he has huge separation issues, and to be taken from his bed in the dark of night by people he hardly knows and be with them for an hour or so, with no parents in sight, had to have been his worse nightmare.

I held him close for a few minutes before laying him back in bed. Snuggled Aleni, nursed her, and put her to bed.

And, that, my friends, is how a perfectly planned day crumbles around you.

I laid in bed, staring at the ceiling, my heart hurting for Noah--and, let's be honest-- for me. Rey got in bed, saying "Sorry" for about the 100th time that evening. I said, "So, I guess I get my birthday present tomorrow?"--knowing that there wasn't one.

I was angry about that--that on top of everything, there wasn't a present, when I spend a good part of the year scheming and planning his birthday. I felt forgotten and unappreciated.

Turns out, he had thought about a present, and his plan had been to surprise me by going clothes shopping. When we were out. On the town. Alone.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

He's the best.

It's Father's Day, as we all know. As I was brainstorming what I could do for the event--outside of the compulsory card... I decided to make up a list of ways Rey is a great dad...and leave them around the house. I think he liked it, and I will share some of the ways with you!

"You are a marvelous daddy because.....

You take the time to be with and listen to your children.



You don't complain about the extra work the babies cause.


Your children adore you.



You know how to play with the children in a special way and always make them so happy.



You were with me at every moment during the pregnancies and births.



You give your babies lots of kisses and compliments.


You always take Noah with you when you can. This not only helps me out, but teaches Noah what he needs to know about "man things".


You aren't bothered by changing diapers---not matter how stinky they are.



You always do all you can to help raise, protect and love our babies.


You are a great example for your children.







Rey, my love... For everything you are and everything you do-- THANK YOU!



Friday, June 18, 2010

Fast, then Faster


"In the middle of the night,
Miss Clavel turned on her light
And said, 'Something is not right!'
And afraid of disaster
Miss Clavel ran fast
And even faster."
--From Madeline by L. Bemelmans



These lines have been rattling through my brain the last couple days, ya wanna know why?

He is three foot tall, has the cutest dimples you'll ever see and answers to the name of Noah.

Gracious, he has had my hair standing on end.


Like this one:

We have a balcony outside our front door here on the 3rd floor. There happen to be 3 stair wells, 2 near our front door, and one at the far end of the hall. Rey put up doors on the stairs close to our door, but Noah never was interested in going down to the other end, so Rey left that one uncovered (That, and other projects caused it to never get a door). Well, that stair well goes up to the "still-under-construction" part of the building--the roof/5th floor.


This fine day, Noah and I had been playing in his room. I went to get a movie out of the closet to put on for him and he came pattering after me. He didn't see me, and went on by. I put the movie in, expecting him to start calling for me. He didn't, so I went to check on Aleni.


Then, I heard rocks being thrown. Now, there are blocks on the "safe roof/patio" above us that he likes to play with, so I went up to see how he was. He wasn't there, but I continued to hear the thumping noise. So, I ran back down into the apartment and re-checked his room. No, and thud, thud. My room, the closets, Aleni's room, the bathroom. No. Where....?? Then my heart stopped--did he go up that other stairs?? I ran fast, and then faster, up to the 4th floor. Didn't see him, but the thuds were louder. Up to the fifth floor/roof. And there stood my little prince, grabbing broken pieces of bricks and blocks, hurling them, and watching them fall the 5 floors to the ground below.


This floor, as I said, is being constructed. So it is that--a floor. No walls. Noah was literally standing with his toes on the edge of this storey looking down, down, down to the cement patio below. My heart turned to stone and my hands tingled with fear. I calmly said, "Hey, little man, having fun?" not wanting to startle him as I slowly moved towards him. Ah, the relief of swooping him up in my arms and rushing him back down to our apartment.


Thank You, Lord for being with our children when we aren't.


Or this:

Yesterday, I made some oatmeal cookies. Noah had one when he woke up from his nap. He really liked it, and a while later came over a grabbed one off of my friend's plate. "No, Noah," I said, "I want you to eat supper before you have any more cookies." He already had a bite in his mouth, a opened his mouth to let out a scream of anger at not getting what he wanted. In so doing, he inhaled the bit of cookie he had there.


He started coughing. I had Aleni in one arm, so I lifted his arm to help him pass the bite. He kept coughing and gagging. He has a tendency to overreact when he coughs, so I was just saying, "It's ok, you can do it". Suddenly, his face turned completely purple. And at that, I lost all feeling in my body. I rushed to lay Aleni on the couch and kneeled beside Noah, wrapping an arm around his shoulders. He was beginning to go limp as his blue lips kept moving with his effort to cough and tears streaked down his face. The only thing I could think to do was to check his throat to see if I could feel the blockage. The little chunk of cookie was there, wedged at the entrance to his throat. It probably wasn't the right thing to do (the Heimlich maneuver did not even enter my mind), but I wiggled my finger around the piece to dislodge it. The house around me melted away as every sense funneled into my little boy. Come on, come on.... and it was out. And Noah was gasping, and coughing and crying. And his face was becoming white, and then pink. And we snuggled on the couch together with Blankey.


Thank You, Lord, for saving my baby's life--even if I do all the wrong things.


So, these things may help you understand why this cool morning found me leaping from the shower as it was still running, my face white with Noxema, and streaking up to the roof patio with a towel wrapped around me. I had heard a nearby scream from Noah (which he does a lot when he is imitating someone on a movie), but I didn't hear anything else, so I kept sudsing. Then, I heard what sounded like a call from help--but far away.


No! Don't tell me--he's outside in trouble?? I ran out of the bathroom. "Noah??" And I heard a replying noise, but it sounded muffled. The front door was shut... had he gotten stuck somewhere on the patio? So, I cast an eye at his empty bedroom and then shot up the stairs and outside (thank goodness the neighbor was gone). No Noah up there. Back down the stairs. "Noah, Noah???" No answer. Still not in his room, or any rooms. Start checking the closets. Opened his closet, and 2 brown eyes looked calmly up at me as chubby little hands held the blanket up to his cheek. He stepped around me dismissively, and sat down to play with his cars. "Your welcome..." I called out to his back.


Thank You, Lord, for protecting my babies even when they're not in danger.


Hats off to you, Miss Clavel. I don't know how you did it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fancy Feathers


Heard whistling from the street below, so I stuck my head out of our 3rd floor window to look down. Saw the coolest thing: Two guys walking. Each of them had strapped onto their backs these leaning towers of at least 10 bird cages--full of an exquisitely colored bunch of birds! They each carried a stick in their hands upon which were sitting these bright green parrots.


They walked, the towers swayed along with their movement. The parrots danced, scurried and played on their perches. They whistled and the birds chirped back. And I watched until they were long gone.


I think that is what Rey and I will do when we are big.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Nighttime Rendezvous

I know the goal is for Aleni to sleep through the night... but, right now, I love our nightly encounters.





I love that she calls out to me 2-3 times a night, and that when I go to her--she immediately responds to my presence. I lift her sleep-heavy little body from the bed and snuggle her into the crook of my arm to feed her. She tosses her head around desperately, her mouth open for whatever happens along. When she finds what she is looking for, she settles down instantly, eating hungrily.


I love the dark stillness of this moment. I love the smell of baby lotion that wafts up to me from her warm form. I love how she rubs her chubby hand over her head as she eats. I love how she drifts to sleep as she eats, and then jerks herself awake and goes back to what she was doing.





I love that when she is finished, she arches back, back, back as though she couldn't possibly hold another drop. Then she lets out a long sigh, and finds her thumb and sucks contentedly.

Then, the best part... When I lay her back in her crib, she stretches both arms up over her head and sleeps that way. The picture of contented fullness.

Attitude DOES Matter


On Saturday night, me and my man watched the movie, Faith like Potatoes. As a good friend said, it can be hard to find a Christian film that doesn't leave one rolling her eyes at how unrealistic the "spiritual convos" are and at how bad the acting is. But, I've gotta say, this movie really touched me, and has me thinking still.


It is a story based on the life of a Scottish farmer who happens to be farming in Africa. At the beginning, he does not have a relationship with Jesus, and later on--he does. This movie made me laugh and cry and it inspired me. Why? Because the man character really believes in a thing called "relationship with God". With communing with Him, wherever you might be. With really listening for specific directions from Him, and then following those directions whole-heartedly, even if everyone around you counsels against it.


This man had faith, big faith. And it was joyful faith. His life was an adventure--with very real lows and agonies--but an adventure nonetheless. A kind of living where "anything is possible".


It made me realize how lately my faith-attitude has not been one of "adventure". It had been more in the suffering, tenacious hold-- "One of these days, everything will be ok."


We (the Sánchez family) are on a faith adventure. We have followed God's voice here to central Mexico--without Bible School, without full funding, without even a house that we can really call "ours". And, God has been more than faithful to us.


I was noting all these things, but not joyfully. More like trying to stuff feelings of "How can we better this situation?"


After watching this movie, I realized what a shame it was that I had sunk to this position. I consciously decided to joy in the situation I am in. To be excited and expectant to see how God is going to pour out His blessings on us--rather than seeing if I've checked out "all available options".


And let me tell you, since that day of a subtle-yet-huge shift of focus and attitude, God has provided in huge and wonderful ways. A couple people have written, saying they would be giving us one-time gifts. A large check that it seemed the bank had lost weeks ago just came up "found" (I mean--does that happen??).


I am just rejoicing in what God can do, and does. I am excited to be in the story He is writing and just waiting to see what He is going to surprise us with next!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saturday Excitement

Well, for those of you who don't know... I worked at a landscaping company for 7 years, so the fact that I haven't had the chance to grow flowers since I've been married has been excruciating. Especially now that we live in a great climate for growing. And... flowers are so stinking cheap here!

So, yesterday was an amazing day in this writer's life. We went flower shopping! Just got a few...enough to whet my appetite and get me dreaming about our next flower trip.

As I mentioned, we don't have a camera, but Google has some uncannily similar images of what I now have on my front balcony, so take a peak at the yummyness--and freak out with me over the prices! (And for those asking: they were the "1 gallon size")
Got one of these ($2):
Two of these ($1 each)
One of these ($1)
Two of these ($1 each)
One of these ($2):

Saturday, June 12, 2010

An Ode.



You know--there are sisters. And then there are sisters. Like there are women. And there are ladies. One is so merely by genetic happenstance, and the other is by choice. And that choice makes them sweeter, richer, and oh, so wonderful.


My thoughts have been with my sister these days. Rach has been my sister ever since I can remember... haha. She was born 3 years before me, thereby gaining the title of "older sister" and becoming a wealth of "been there" knowledge for this little sister.





Growing up, we were not without our "typical" older-younger squabbles, but this sisterhood has turned into something precious and without equal.

Rachel is my closest friend. The one I can tell the most intimate, grossest things to (heck, she already has seen me at my worst) and that I save up my best stories for.

She is my biggest defender, ally and encourager. She is also the voice of honesty in a world that often shies away from the idea.






No one can reduce me to "ugly laughing" like she can (see?? Oh, my...this is almost too scary to post...), nor can relate so closely to my struggles.






Though we are virtual opposites, and this difference made it hard for us to understand each other as young things--these differing views have helped make our lives deeper and more joyful.

I wouldn't trade her for anything.


Love ya, sister!! And miss you like crazy...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Twinkle Toes

Aww. Just had one of those "he's-growing-up-so-fast" moments... I was lotioning my little boy after his bath, and noticed his feet aren't soft and baby-tender any more. The coming summertime has him padding around more often than not with bare-feet, and that has started toughening them up. Sniff.

Bye-bye baby.







Noah, about 4 months old
In all his chubby deliciousness
Bustin' a move.

Self-Absorption




So, the house is a wreck. I've got oodles of things to do, gobs even. But, instead, I am taking these first few moments of nap-time to tap out some completely self-absorbed thoughts.

Mainly, on the thought that mommahood really comes to life on days momma isn't feeling quite up to snuff. Doesn't it kind of stink that we can't have a day to just shuffle around in a grumpy, nontalking mode and just "live" a day--as opposed to directing it? That we can't just roll over in bed, pull the covers up and let the diapers wait 'till tomorrow? That we can be sick as a dog, but still need to do our best at keeping our voices chirpy as we talk to our mini-me's??

Now, I am not deathly ill, or even sick. I have had an on-and-off earache for the last few weeks, which has been a pain (get it?). Thankfully, the earache is now "off", so I should be operating at full capacity, right? Right. Well, for some reason, I woke up today with that feeling of being "unplugged". Like whatever energy was allotted to June 11, 2010 slipped away and is playing hooky for the day. My muscles, bones, brain--everything seemed to stay asleep as I began the morning cycles of diapers, dressings, breakfasts, house straightening...

And, to make it better, Noah woke up screaming this morning and has been screaming about every 10 minutes ever since. Of course. I found myself screaming back a few times, before finding the correct chirpy-yet-firm mommy voice for the situation.

Why can't mommas just slink away and hunker down in a closet with a flashlight, chocolate and some good magazines? How is it that within 2 minutes of such slinking... the whole house is upended in a mom-hunt?

So, there you have it. My thoughts of the day. When people ask about what is so hard about being a stay-at-home mom--you tell them just one thing: Sick (aka "mental health) days.

They don't exist!!

In Other News:

So, I dyed my hair black.

Yes, I did. Since I was 11, I dreamed of having black hair (that "shone blue in the light"--whatever that means. Some author somewhere extolled their heroine's hair color in this way) and blue eyes. Well, my eyes aren't any bluer, but my hair is as black as Noah's face when he comes in from playing.

I really like the color. I think I may have had black hair in a former life--oh, wait. That doesn't work. Let's just say, I think it work. BUT! It has raised a whole new problem: I don't like how the black hair looks with my glasses. Oops. I feel like it really makes my glasses stand out, and not in a "Wow, you are really rocking those glasses" way. So, I decided to trim my bangs (which I had decided to grow out) into a side-swoop type style.

I know, I said, "I trimmed". Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes not. Well, as I chopped away, I ended up feeling like, "Ack!! Nooo! I don't want bangs! What was I thinking??" and at the same time hoping they looked better to "other people".

When Rey got home, I made a comment about feeling like the bangs made it look worse. Rey said, "Yeah, but that's ok." What?? I couldn't hardly sleep feeling like Ugly Betty or worse... How could I have chopped my bangs...I wondered.


On to today, where I noticed when my "side swoopers" feel straight down that I kinda preferred that look to the swoop look. Said something to Rey... and he agreed.








Back to the scissors. So now my bangs are back to how they were when I was pregnant with Laners... But I still am not liking the glasses. Without the glasses, it looks very "Zooey-ish" (big on the "-ish")... with them... Well, picture Zooey with glasses. Hmmm.



But, I guess I will just have to work it!




(No. No pictures. Not because I'm mean like that. Because we are sans camera for the moment. Just use your imagination).



Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Toldja


It's not very nice. And no one likes it when someone says it to them. But, I think that mommas have more opportunities than any one else on the planet to say it.

"I told you so."

Take this:

From the other room, I hear Noah crying. It is not, however, his normal piercing cry of pain, fright or frustration. It's more of a soft cry of annoyance, but not expecting consolation. I go to investigate.


He is sitting inside the door that goes to the roof. His mouth is open and he is frantically wiping at his tongue with--is that the dog's chew rope?? Yes, it is.




"What's going on, Noah?" I ask, semi-chuckling as I take the dog rope away. He just looks at me, holding his mouth open with tongue out. "Do you want me to clean out your mouth?" I grab a towel, wet it and scrub his tongue while he waits patiently. He tries out his tongue, and then moans--I guess the taste was still there.


"So, let's see what you got into."




We go up on the roof, which is Noah's play area, our laundry area and also our upstairs neighboor, Manuel's front patio. Manuel just so happens to have a bottle of liquid dishwashing soap up there on a sink. Noah has been attracted to that bottle since the first day he saw it, and every day I've told him: "No touch. It's not a toy. Yucky." Which has caused all kinds of tears and tantrums.

And today, today! It was finally the day that Noah was able to stretch out his hand--unseen--and have that soap bottle to his heart's content. He first squirted it all over the sink. Then, all over the patio. Ah! Then, the fun part: A big gob in his hair. Which, knowing his habits, he just had to reach up and feel. And then, he needed to clean off his hands. He tried his pants... but, you know soap. It sticks. So, into the mouth go the fingers, and...: "Wahhhhh!" (but softly).

My response: "I told you so." I think he got it.

He sure smelled good. Bath time was interesting--using shampoo to wash out.... soap??


I am glad it rained last night. The patio is looking real sparkly.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sweetness



Ah, I must, yes, I must write a post about my little bundle of sweetness. My little Aleni. Or Laney. Or Laney-Lou. Or Laners. Or Preciousness. Or Darling. Or Hermosura ("Beauty"). Or, as a friend of our calls her, "Dulce" (Sweet).







We could not have asked God for a more loveable, more easy-going, more wonderful baby. She truly is nothing but joy.

Whenever she wakes up from her sleep-time and realizes someone is coming for her, she beams one of her face-splitting smiles up at the world.



She is very good at keeping herself content. She will voice that she would appreciate some attention, but if none comes--she quiets herself but sucking away on her thumb and looking around.

She has always been a "chatter"(gets that from her daddy, haha). Now, she's started being a "squealy chatter". It always cracks us up how she'll be gurgling and squealing happily to herself. She makes "raspberry" noises and has countless facial expressions.




She has the most beautiful, sparkly eyes. From the time she was born, she has been able to find the face of the person who is talking and is very alert. She always know who is holding her!


I love her sturdy little body. She is just the right mix of muscle and pudge. Her little thighs are beautifully dimpled, yet she has a kind of baby six-pack going on! She has been able to hold her head up from an early age.


I told Rey yesterday that sometimes she is so good, it makes my heart hurt. Because she is so undemanding, she can be left alone in her swing or on her play mat for long periods of time while I am doing housework or chasing down her brother. Sometimes I feel like I am not giving her as much attention--because she doesn't force me to!

Oh, well. She doesn't seem too traumatized yet. And, we enjoy our snuggles every time I sing and rock her before she goes to sleep. And sleep? My goodness, that little angel caught right onto the settling herself to sleep thing, too! Of course, I mean--hello? Did I not say she is perfect??