Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Beginnings... and continuance

Last night, as I was waiting for Rey to get back from some late-night painting on the new house, I happened to lift my gaze to the skies. And I remembered something about our wedding.

We prepared for our wedding over the phone. When I asked Rey what thing(s) he really wanted in the wedding--one of the things he said was "a full moon". (I should say we were originally wanting a beach wedding.) So, we looked at the calenders and August 25 was a full moon. Last night--the moon was as full and beautiful as it was the night we pulled away from our wedding reception.

It's my anniversary--our anniversary, I should say.

I think back to what I was doing three years ago... Wedding day!

So, Rey and I had decided not to kiss each other until the day we were married. It wasn't the easiest of commitments. Rey actually decided to refer to kisses as "chocolates" (think: Hershey's kisses) because he thought if he said the word "kiss" it might break down his defenses. Hah.

Well, little did Rey know that I had planned a little kissing surprise. You see, I didn't really want the whole world to spy on our first kiss--I mean, how unfair is that? So, for months I had been planning to kiss Rey on our wedding day, just not at the wedding.

My plan: Go pick him up super early on our wedding day and say there was something I had to show him. Drive him to a nearby walking path along a lake. Walk to a dock on the lake and take in the sunrise. Present him with a ring box that had a Hershey kiss inside and voila! Fireworks, baby. Right??

Everything went according to plan--until I gave him the ring box. He opened it and kind of chuckled before shutting it and putting it down. He went back to looking at the lake.

"Do you know what that means?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said, heaving a big sigh. "I can't wait till the wedding this afternoon."

Me, moaning inwardly: "It's our wedding day."

Him: "Yeah, I know." Still enjoying the sunrise.

Ok, folks. To make a long story short--he totally didn't get that I meant, "Hey, baby--let's enjoy our wedding gift to each other now." He said he was just so used to telling his brain, "Nothing until the wedding" that the idea of a kiss then never came into his mind. So, don't worry. I showed him what I meant. Heheh.

Moving on. Took Rey back to the house he was staying at and I went back to mine. We had a wedding practice that morning, and then went back to our houses again to get ready for the event! The other surprise I had for Rey involved my entrance.

He had often mentioned how much he loved this song--and I thought it would be awesome to play as I came down the "aisle" (it was an outdoor wedding in a wooded area, so I actually walked down a wooded path and through the grass, the best kind of aisle!). I get kind of choked up just listening to it. :) It is a song based on the song of Solomon's "woman" in Song of Solomon. "If you see my beloved, tell him I sick from longing for him, and I can't sleep...."

The ceremony was perfect--in Spanish and English with songs sung by people dear to us. And, the rest, as they say, is history!

Our first anniversary:
Noah was 3 months old. The plan had been to leave him with one of Rey's younger sisters and go out to eat after Rey got off work. Noah spent the whole day screaming and not sleeping, so I didn't feel that I could leave him with someone else. So, Rey picked up some yummy eats from a restaurant and we watched our wedding video.

Second anniversary:
I was about 3 month pregnant with Aleni. My aunt and uncle watched Noah for the day and we went to a cool, mountainous area where we took in the sight, picnicked, and read each other reasons why we love each other. Watched the wedding video at night while we ate chicken Rey had grilled up.

Third anniversary:
Today! I find myself "un-pregnant" and without a newborn! ;) We are in the middle of moving house...and there is a 3-day evening conference at church we want to catch. So, we plan to copy another person's idea, and write each other new vows and read them to each other tonight. I'm thinking: Coffee, donuts, candlelight on the roof... It will be great!

I love our life. I love that we have 2 babies, and are on our 4th move in our 3 years of marriage. I love that we are more in love with each other and understand each other more than we did 3 years ago. I love that we still find each other ridiculously funny and that we still find each other to be the most attractive person we know.

I love that--after going through some high and low waters... after experiencing challenges that might have bent or broken some marriages--God has carried us, and I still respect and adore my husband without reserve.

Here's to 80 more years! ;)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The House Story

So... for those of you anxiously holding your breath to hear the story about our new abode (and I know there's a passel of you out there!)--here goes!

First: Why look for a new place?

We are now living in an apartment that has been graciously opened up (free of charge!) to us by the owner, who also happens to be the man that started the missionary work here in Fresnillo. It has been God-sent, because without it we would not have been able to be here working.

That being said, it is a 3rd floor apartment... and the building is still under construction. This has meant Noah can't wander around outside without me physically with him, or with constant checking on his safety. There are a total of 8 stair wells--some leading to the 5th floor which does not have walls between you and the ground below. Noah now navigates stairs pretty well, but it was a major hassle up until about a month ago. Now, I know his little sister is revving up her engines to get her crawl on any day now--and the "stair drama" will begin again.

Noah loves, loves, loves being outside. I think his ideal day would involve only coming inside to eat. I also love being outside and doing all kinds of landscaping. Or maybe just sitting and staring at the clouds, without feeling like I am being stared out.

Which brings up the privacy issue: We share our place with a family on the first floor--and whoever the visitor(s) of the week happens to be. Now, I love people: but, this just means I constantly feel on edge that me and my family are encroaching on someone else's "territory". And, since the place isn't really "ours"--we don't have any say in how things go.

Since we've been married, we've never had our own plot of earth. Our own place to put out the lawn chairs and stare up at the stars. Our own place to let Noah explore and touch every nook and cranny. Our own place to roll around and be silly without feeling-- strange. So, there's the "why".

Onto the "how".

Though we are still trusting God to supply in the way of monthly support, we have come to a place we feel that we can make monthly rent payments. We may not have a table to eat off of or dressers to put our clothes in--but! We will have our own space. And that, my friend, will be priceless!

After coming to that decision--we began the hunt. Asked all our friends to hunt with us. Drove around several afternoons, looking for "For Rent" signs. Got online and checked around there.

Ah! Dontcha want to know my hopes/dreams/requirements for the new house?

Well, I was willing to bend many of these ideals, but they were as follows:

  • A one-storey house

  • A patio with grass (almost everything here is wall-to-wall concrete)

  • Somewhere we could see the mountains--so on the edge of town

  • 3-4 bedrooms

Other things I'd hoped for included an outdoor water faucet, lots of windows, permission to paint at will...

Back to the hunt: So, we were looking everywhere, and it seemed that people only wanted to sell--not rent. Went to check out a great-sounding ad, and the house turned out to be a dump. Kept checking. Saw another nice-sounding ad, but it was a little out of our price range, so we decided to skip it. Kept looking. Checked out several other different leads, nothing.

You know, in searching, we kept finding houses that weren't at all what we were looking for, but I kept saying to myself, "Well.... I could make it work..." I finally came to the decision that the house God had for me would be perfect. That when I saw it, I would know it. Kinda like when you meet the man of your life, and you just know it.

I don't remember exactly why--but that "a little too expensive house" came back to my mind again, so I found the ad again. I called the number several times over a couple days before the lady answered.

She said the lawyer was out of town, but we could call him Monday (this was Friday). Did I realize the house was on an unpaved road? she asked. I didn't, but honestly that made it sound even better. The ad stated the neighborhood the house was in, but nothing else.

Something that annoys me about myself is how I obsess over something until it has closure. So, Sunday afternoon, we all went out for a drive and just happened to find ourselves in the neighborhood the house was in. Ha! Like looking for a needle in a haystack. Almost all the streets in that neighborhood are unpaved.

So, we drove around looking for "For Rent" signs and seeing nothing. We drove by one house that Rey mentioned looked "uninhabited" because the grass was knee high and there were no cars out front. (There were actually quite a few like that) We drove around for about another 30 minutes.

"No," Rey said, "Really, the only house around here that I've liked is that one I thought looked empty."

"Then let's go back there and ask around," I said.

So, we did. Rey asked one neighbor, who referred him to another neighbor, who referred him back to neighbor #1 who then referred him to another guy down the street...and so it went. While Rey was getting ping-ponged back and forth, Aleni slept peacefully in the car, and Noah and I explored and fell in love with the surrounding area. I mean, hey--at the end of the street is a huge field with the mountains as a backdrop....

Rey didn't find anything too certain-sounding. We looked at the house through the fence and I said it was perfect. Remember that, "I just know it" feeling? I had it, and I giggled to Rey: "How crazy would it be if this house that we love is the same one that is in that ad we are going to call about tomorrow?"

Pretty crazy, Rey thought.

So, Monday morning we called. They gave us the address for the place and we drove out there to see it. We turned onto the street that the house from Sunday was on... and it was the name of the street the lawyer gave us! The excitement grew. Now to find the number.... It looked like the number was going to be a house at the end of the street--way past the house--but, I consoled myself, I still love this area.

Actually, we couldn't find the number at all. Rey called the lawyer and told him. The lawyer told him where the house was by describing the ones around it. We found ourselves standing in front of the house. It was the one! (Turns out "they" had come through and changed the house numbers).

Can you imagine how giddy I was? It was almost nauseating.

So, yes. That's the house story... of course now we are in the craziness of trying to get the house liveable around the schedules of a 2 yr old and a 8 month old. So far, we are doing shifts. I go from about 1 to 5 and Rey goes from about 6 to 10. Mornings are spent getting supplies, and tiring out the kids!

Hey--if you've got a good arm for painting or sanding, we could sure use you!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Church today...

So, today is church day.

I know, we clean up niiiice.

For some reason, the last 3 weeks or so, Noah has started this new thing. He'll be having the best morning, and be really happy to be going "bye-bye"--and then he'll realize we are turning down the street to church, and he'll go off. Screaming in holy (get it? "holy"?) terror. Twisting in his car seat like he would physically like to change the direction of the car. The only reason we can figure out for this is that there is a lady in the church that he is completely and unequivocally scared of. She looks a little like this:

I don't think there is anything wrong with the old soul--but since we started going to this church (over a year and a half ago), Noah hides whenever he sees her. She's had something like 15 children. She always wears a large shawl over her head, and shuffles along with a hunched back.

The problem is, 9 times out of 10, this woman is in the nursery with her granddaughter, and that means Noah won't go in there. Or, if she happens to come in after he's already there, playing happily--he looks up, then runs to me as fast as he can, wedging himself between me and the wall. He won't pull himself out or look at anyone until she leaves. It is so weird.

So, anyways. Now, he starts screaming from the time he realizes where we are headed. Today, we got him out of the van to him saying, "No, no, no, no..." and then he bolted away from the church, towards home. When I said we needed to go to church, he laid on the sidewalk and howled. He howled all the way into church as I carried him in and, once there, kept pulling my hand to take him back out. Daddy distracted him with some snacks, and then it was on to the service.

Noah loves the music part, so he was soon busy dancing and imitating the drummer.

During the sermon, usually one of us is downstairs with Noah and the other is with Aleni. This time, Rey took Noah down to see a puppet show they were putting on for the kiddos.

In the sermon today, the preacher was talking about how God created the perfect "pharmacy" in the fruits and veggies He made. She said that God gave us "hints" as to what the vegetation was good for. For example, carrots, when cut in slices, look like the eye--and that's what they are good for. Other things: Avocado is in the shape of the womb, good for "women things". Tomato is like the heart (has 4 "chambers", is red)--and it's good for it. All kinds of interesting examples. The one that had me consciously keeping a straight face was the good old fig. She said, "They grow in pairs and are filled with seeds." Can you figure it out? It's good for "guy stuff"--combats male infertility.

I didn't giggle then, but always on the way home from church, the one that heard the sermon shares it with the one that didn't. I told Rey the highlights, and when I got to that part, I was laughing like a Jr. High boy.

After we got home, Rey said he was running to the store. To get some stuff. To make fig smoothies. Ewww... I gotta figure out what the "anti-fig" is!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Inspired and Enviable

Oh, yes. Enviable. Ya see, Rey has been starting off these last few days by saying, "So, what are you going to do with your 3 free hours today??" He is referring to naptime... and he is encouraging me to get out of the house during that time. I thought once a week was huge--but every day? Come on, now. A girl could get spoiled.

Now, I didn't actually "get out" until yesterday. I went to get my hair cut. One of the great things about Mexico: Haircuts are usually between $2-$5. Well, ok. You do only get your hair squirted down with water and the beauticians yank their combs through your hair at terrifying speeds. But, the thought of all the dough you're saving will keep that smile plastered on your face. You can also often get manicure-pedicure for around $10-$15... and, boy, did this momma need that. I actually drove all over town and found about 3 spots that did 'em... but they were all closed when I needed them (from 2 to 5 pm).

Not to worry, I waited 'till the bambinos were in bed and then made up my own foot soak and foot scrub (thank you, internet)--and gave myself that manicure-pedicure. I WILL stop biting my fingernails! Ok, I'm better now.

Here comes the inspired part: While I was looking for recipes for the pedicure stuff... I came across this awesome blog. It has recipes for homemade lotion, deoderant and laundry soap. The author talks about how she went to "no shampoo". Anyways, reading her blog is what go me inspired. I then spent I don't know how long looking at recipes for baby shampoo, shaving cream, cleaning products--all things I can make myself! Who knew? I have super duper sensitive skin, and I have to wonder if more natural is more betterer (hah) for me anyways? And I can sure see how over time I would be saving some pretty pennies! And keeping chemical counts low... A lot of the ingredients for things we don't have here (or I don't know where to find 'em), so I will probably have to order some and for others "put in an order" with my aunt to bring down when she comes in September. I let you know how it goes!

In other news:

Aleni fell from the bed for the first (and hopefully last) time yesterday. :( Boo. I was checking her about every minute, and for about 5 minutes she had been laying, unmoving, in the middle of the bed. All of the sudden, the worst "thud" noise... and then my baby crying. Sorry, Laini!

Arghhh!! Noah is soooo close to going potty in the "potty chair". He has his daddy's strength of will, though. Sheesh. Yesterday afternoon, we were reading books together--he without a diaper. All of the sudden, he kind of jumped and grabbed himself, and then kept reading. I could "tell" that he really had to go, so I tried putting him on his kiddy potty. He started screaming. He's never peed in that potty, so I wondered if he would "get" it more on a big person's potty (we have a "converter seat" for it, he had just been terrified of the height before). So, I took him in there and put him on the potty, and he sat there just fine.

And sat there. I tried eeevveeeerrything I could think of. Distracted him with songs, bubbles, looking out the window. Turned the water on. Even gave him a cup of water which he was pouring on his stomach. Drops would come out. I'd be sooo sure... and... nothin'. I told him jokes and got him laughing. I gave him some privacy to see if that would help. We were there about 30 minutes. "Come, Noah. You are sooo big! Pee pee!!"

At the end, he appeared as though he couldn't hold it anymore. I told him he could go in the potty. Come on!! His face crumpled and he started shaking his head rapidly, "No, no, no. No pee pee. Ewwww. No pee pee. All done!!"

So, not wanting to scar the lad, I let him get down. We went up to the patio to take the laundry off the line. And there, as some rain sprinkled down around us, Noah happily relieved himself.

Can you believe it? He made himself "hold it" for at least 30 minutes with every kind of stimulant against him. Wow. I just feel like if he could just do it one time... it would be smooth sailing from there.

What was interesting was after all of this, I put Aleni in the high chair for her supper and Noah came over asking for a hug. Now, he's not the hugest hugger. He doesn't mind sitting on my lap and snuggling while he wakes up... But, hugging-- not so much. Last night, though, he wrapped his arms around my neck like a grapevine and rocked me back and forth, back and forth for the longest time.

Did he feel like I was dissapointed in him? I wondered. Because I hadn't made any negative expressions or comments. But, just in case, as he rocked my back and forth, I said, "Noah, you are a good boy. You are so big. You are so strong. You are the best. I love you." over and over.

To which, Noah whispered over my shoulder: "Goo boy. Big. Tong. Bes. Love oo."

Monday, August 9, 2010

Just so you know:

Reasons why tonight, at Noah's bathtime, I had to fight the urge to dip him in hand sanitizer:

--He splashed through a puddle of who-knows-what on our afternoon walk, then picked up a bottle floating there and dumped its contents down the front of his shirt

--While playing outside in just a diaper, he laid in the "bunny straw" behind bunny's cage. I'm sure straw wasn't the only thing in that pile.

--He sunbathed and rolled around with the dog on the dog blanket. Have you SEEN dog blankets?

--He tried to lap up water off the ground when he was playing in his kiddie pool

--When I was changing his diaper, he stuck his hand "down there"--and then stuck his finger in his mouth

--He thoroughly enjoyed eating watermelon... along with whatever else was stuck to his hands

On to snuggle time, right??? Boys, boys, boys. :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

(good) Friends

This is kind of going off the "Community" post... but, the issue of friends here. I know that from that post, it may seem like I don't see a living creature except for on Sundays.

That's not entirely true. But, if I can quote myself in a conversation I had with Rey a few weeks ago, "Most of my friends here are different from my American friends. Most of my Mexican friends have horrible lives, abusive husbands and tragic tales of woe every time we talk. So, it's not really like we are conversing, because what do I have to complain about in comparison to that? It's more like me listening, sympathizing, praying, consoling, counseling--and coming away very burdened for that person. Or, it may be that the person isn't real good at keeping private things private--so I have to be very careful what I say to them. I can't just let my guards down and say whatever little thing comes to mind. There isn't a mutual 'sharing' or 'unburdening'."

This comment was made in response to Rey trying to find an outlet for me. A way for me to get out. "Call up one of your friends and go out for coffee or something..." Sounds wonderful, but--as I said above. When I want to "get out"--I don't want to become more burdened. Doesn't sound very "Mother Theresa-ish", I know. I love where I am and that people feel close enough to me to share their pain--but, we all need to breathe from time to time.

All this to say-- gracias a Dios-- we are in the middle of a deepening friendship with another young, married couple. A healthy, Christian couple. A couple who is also in ministry and who look for ways to help us and encourage us--as we do with them. A couple to whom we feel the freedom to express our thoughts/concerns/laughs... and have the joy of receiving the same openness from them.

Ahh, good friends. They are indeed a treasure.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sometimes.... I just need to lift up my hands and say, "Hallelujah, Lord. Humble me!"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Do whatcha gotta do

How I keep the babies happy and get dinner for 15 on while daddy's away! :)


Isn't it interesting how being with people and having a good time causes one to have a certain "buzz" to them? Like, when you've been with a group of friends and been living it up and then come into a quiet house--don't you notice that you bring a whole energy field with you? The silence seems to crash around you in stark difference to the excited interchanges that you'd just been a part of...

I must say at this time and place, Rey brings a lot more of that energy into the house--meaning: he is rubbing shoulders with "big people" all the time. Many times he comes home with this "smell of people" on him. The lightness of shared jokes, words interchanged and general community.

I must also say that often--when I get that "whiff" of people, I find myself stiffening internally. The correct word may be "resentment". Not in huge, life-altering doses. More like a few drops of resentment, as I more thoroughly feel the weight of not having rubbed shoulders with "big" people; not having exchanged jokes/concerns/hopes/life; not experiencing community. I also find myself wanting to squelch the happy weightlessness of his mood: give him "that" look and sigh as I shuffle off to bed.

Sounds like a healthy solution, right? I know my situation may be a little extreme, but I also know I am not the only momma of babies that struggles with the huge loss of girlfriends, adult conversations and freedoms.

The good thing is I am learning what an energy boost healthy community brings and that it is vital to my health to do whatever it takes to get my weekly (daily?) bucketful of it. Even if it takes humbling myself and asking for help--maybe my chores are keeping me from being able to get out for coffee. Would it be the worst thing to hire someone to help out? Might make my pride cringe a bit--but it would be worth it. Community may take flexibility on my part, it may require me to relax and let the schedule go a little. It may be inconvenient--and even be offensive-- at times. But, it is necessary.

Where do you feel you are on your interaction meter??

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sign of the Times

"You know you're getting older when" #519:

Makeup is a necessity as opposed to a pastime.