Thursday, November 30, 2006

So long, farewell

At one of our baby showers in the states we received the most precious "big boy" pajamas. They are by far one of my favorite pieces of clothing that Nathan has. They are covered in big boy things, lizards, bugs, worms and frogs (cute ones of course). But last night I think they made their last run. I'm sure all of us mommies have experienced this, but as I pulled the shirt over my son's great big head, I thought these aren't going to last much longer. Then as I saw the sleeves that had become 3/4 length, I thought oh yeah, not much longer. Then as he stood up in the pants that had become capris (not very manly I might add :) I really thought, okay, last night for these guys. And my heart did a little drop as I realized that my little man is growing up. I would upload a picture, but they've already made their way into the "too small" for Nathan box. God bless our little ones as they grow into little boys and girls. May God guide us as we raise them and show us how to lead them to Him everyday!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Let the Christmas Carols Begin

And traveling all the way from Brownwood, TX to be here with us today, straight from the container to your front door... the Bull's Christmas tree! (and the crowd goes wild!) Complete with cookie dough ornaments from years long gone, our tree is up and ready for business. Mind you all the soft, kid friendly ornaments have inhabited the bottom 2 feet, oh how children change things! :) And although it's not snowing and there's no need for a jacket, we've got our Christmas tree up, our carols in the CD player, and presents already under the tree (thanks to Nana, Papa, and Auntie Em). So let the season begin!

My new table

So now I know what happens when you buy your child a new table and chairs, he sits on the rubbermaid right beside them :) Man you gotta love these little ones! :)

Maroon Out from Cochabamba

We made sure to wear our Maroon to support the Aggies, even if from afar, and it looks like this year it did the trick! :) Gig 'em Ags!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Giving Thanks

Yesterday we were blessed to celebrate Thanksgiving here in our new home with our teammates. It was really so much fun. We had a time of devotion and singing (in English which is always good for the soul :) and then ate to our hearts content. My kitchen table was sagging under the weight of such great food :) from turkey and dressing, green beans and mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes, fresh bread and gravy. And that was just the real food, that doesn't even begin to go into the desserts. Which for the most part were pies, pumpkin, pecan, chocolate chip, and chocolate rolls. I tried my hand at pie crusts for the first time and they turned out really good. I was so relieved. It's not easy without the Wal-Mart freezer section to turn to... but thanks to my Grannie's pie crust recipe, there was pie all around :) And to complete the day my family was decked out in their maroon to support the Aggies who played today... and WON!!!! Now that's something to be thankful for! Hope that you and your's enjoyed the holiday as much as we did here, good friends, good food, good games!

The Culprit

Exploring new territory

Nathan has been exploring new territory here in Bolivia. He's all boy, and I mean that in every sense of the word! One of the things that we have recently become very intimately acquainted with here in Bolivia is the plumbing system in our home. In each room that has water flowing to it... such as the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room, they all have a hole about 3 inches by 3 inches in the floor that carries water to the pipe that leads to the main valve or pipe that carries all the water from the house out to the street. I have grown to appreciate these holes as we mop because there's no need to dry or go over the floor a second time, you just pour your hot soapy water on the floor, mop, and then squeegy (seriously have no idea how to spell that word) the water to the hole, it's marvelous. And they work great, until little Nate man throws a kink, no more accurately said, throws a ball into things. Oh yes, you guessed right. Wednesday morning I started a load of laundry and went back upstairs to get little man out of bed. Sonia got here around 9:30 and when she went into the laundry room I heard her calling my name, apparently there was quite a bit of water all over the floor. Well we had had an episode with the laundry machine before so I really didn't think a whole lot about it, just thought I'll have Gary take a look at it later. As she was squeeging (really gotta figure out how to spell that word) the water out the back door, she noticed that as the washing machine was emptying again the water was not coming from the machine, but up from the beloved hole in the floor. Thus began the search for the source of the problem.

Gary came downstairs and ran wire through the pipes to try and see if he could force out whatever was causing the problem, but to no avail. Then later that day our landlord (who lives next door) came over to see if he could help. There is a square portion of the back porch that is kind of like a door that can be lifted up to view the main pipe carrying the water out to the street that is located right outside the back door. James tried and tried and tried to lift this square block but it's about 7-8 inches thick and is solid concrete. He explained to me where he thought the problem was and said he would come back later when Gary was home.

At this point everything downstairs is backed up, no using any sinks for anything. Gary came home for lunch and tried to lift this crazy block too and couldn't. But being the creative man that he is realized that maybe the car jack could be of assistance :) and it was. So after he sets up the jack and lifts this concrete block, he and James (who's come back over by now) work to try and find the source of the problem. One thing that you have to know is that when we were home Nathan fell in love with this Playskool toy that includes these little plastic balls about the size of a racqetball, which apparently fit perfectly down the pipe hole in my kitchen.

And which was exactly what James and Gary found as the worked to rid the pipe of the problem. Gary said to me... there are very few situations in his life in which he has been more embarrased. Here he was working and working to solve the problem with the help of our landlord (who kept saying, i just don't understand, we never had this problem when we lived here :) and at the end of all the hard work, to pull out one of our son's toys... yeah, so that was a humbling experience. Needless to say, we keep much closer tabs on the little plastic balls now and are trying to figure out how to glue down the hole covers :)

I recently bought Nathan some new crayons at the local market here. He's loving coloring and we're saving his masterpieces to send home to the grandparents soon. But today from the looks of my son you'd think I never feed the kid. Because he was walking around with one crayon in each hand gnawing on them as if they were pretzels. Now mind you I know this must be a normal thing for kiddos as they begin to color. They have all survived a little crayon in the digestive system. But normally it is only mommy and daddy who are witness to the crayons leaving the system, many times in the same form in which they entered :) But not in the Bull household because we took Nathan to the pediatrician today to have him check out little man for a cough that's been hanging on for a week or so and for a pretty raw little tushy. The pediatrician decided to do some lab work, which for all you parents out there means watching and trying to catch the pooping machines in action. Now all who know us well know that we have survived stool samples before, and under much worse circumstances (with a 3 month old, solely breastfeeding baby, let's just say gallon sized ziplocks with holes cut for Nathan's legs were involved :) but the afore mentioned sample did not have to be handed to a lab worker with the preface, yes I know there are blue and green flecks all in there, and no it is not what Nathan had for dinner :) Yes, we know crayons are not one of the main food groups, we appreciate your concern, we're working on it :)

And last but not least is Nathan exploring the boundaries of the bath water. For some reason it's not enough to sit and play in the bath water, or even to splash it every where. Nathan's newest play time is to sit in the water and inch by inch lower his entire face towards the surface of the bath water. Until the moment at which his face reaches the water and he realizes that his entire face is under water. He's such a hoot as he pulls up from the water gasping as if someone was trying to teach him to swim under water. They are so funny as they explore new sensations and boundaries! So needless to say I know there will be many more adventures to come from Nathan, I just hope that we come away from them all laughing, even if just to ourselves :) about them all. God bless you all and thanks for reading about the current adventures of Nathan Wallace. Until next time.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Please let the record show

If there were such a thing as a retraction in blog land, please find the following to be such. Late last night in the process of blogging/journaling some of my thoughts and feelings, it seems they might have been a little misconstrued. First, let me say that I am amazed that there are people back home reading, other than those who are commenting. And for that I am grateful, it's really great to know that supporters back home are able to keep up with us and know how we are doing on an almost daily basis through our blog. But secondly let me apologize for not earlier having posted a public thank you note. You see recently we received the most precious gift from a supporting congregation of one of our teammates, the Sandoval family. Being far away from home this time of year is so hard for so many reasons, but one of the things that could ease a little of the pain is having the same familiar decorations, music, or in this case foods that we are used to having on the table during the holidays. But alas, it is a little hard to find pumpkin pie filling here, cranberry sauce, and other such staple items. This precious congregation was so thoughtful and I cannot even tell you how many times over the last two weeks I have marveled at their thoughtfulness, and said so to our teammates, or fellow Amercians here in Cbba. The Comanche Trail Church of Christ (I pray I got that full name right) sent us as a team a care package aka Thanksgiving survival package, complete with Cranberry sauce, gravy mix packages, mashed potatoes (ready to made of course :) Pumpkin pie filling, pie crusts (now that was smart! they obviously know I've never made a pie crust in my life :) spices for baking that are hard to find here, and drumroll please, homemade pecan pralines... along with pecans for baking (which are nonexistent here, which is so sad that the Cochabambinos are missing out on the wonderful world of pecans). So please know, and hear now, the gratefulness with which we are filled as missionaries on the field, to receive such a precious package! The comments of gratitude have been flying down here, I apologize for not yet having sent them your way! God bless you each for your hearts, your thoughtfulness of us during this time, and most of all your prayers!

*** Side note: the reason I continue to look for things like cranberry sauce is that I have learned my lesson. Here in Cochabamba there are a handful of stores that carry imports from the states. Over the past few months I have seen cans of cranberry sauce, or the onions to go on the green bean casserole. But left them on the shelf as I knew we had months and months to go before the holidays. But now as the holidays grow near, they are no where to be found. So that was the cranberry sauce at 2 dollars a can reference, just keeping my eyes peeled for those specialty items :) to keep my pantry stocked with comfort foods from home! Hope you all understand and know how sorry I am for not communicating earlier how much we appreciate all that our supporters do for us! God bless you all!

Friday, November 17, 2006

The pity party ends NOW

The past few days my sweet husband has gotten quite the earful. And taken it gracefully he has! The complaints coming from this wife have ranged from... why can't the movie theater have a phone number to call instead of having to go there to find out when the movies are playing? why is cooking so much more of a challenge here? why in preparation for thanksgiving do i have to pay almost 2 dollars for a 4 ounce can of cranberry sauce? why do we live miles and miles away from our families and friends as the holidays roll around? why can the stores and restaurants here not accomodate the gringo and play a little Christmas music? and the complaints went on and on.

But the pity party stops here!! Over the past few days God has brought in to view, very poignantly I might add, that I am immeasurably blessed.

I stumbled on a website the other day of a young mother who lost her 3 year old son in a car accident. As I sat at my computer reading her account of the day he died and how she held him in her arms, knowing he was already gone, then crawled up in the hospital bed and couldn't leave his body there for anything, I realized what an amazing gift I have in my precious Nathan. I cry again even as I sit here typing. Sure, he's a little crazy at times, his teeth are driving him crazy, he got shots this week which made him a bundle of joy, but he's still mine, and he's still here. I can still rock him to sleep at night and kiss his sweet face as he lays asleep in his crib, we can still play hide and seek around the house and make fish faces as he giggles that laugh that makes my heart sing and I will still get to watch him grow for years to come... Lord willing. I am blessed!

And then I stumbled on the blog of some fellow Harding graduates. Keith, the husband has recently been diagnosed with cancer, it sounds like it is not the first time, but I don't know the whole story and so I can't say that for a fact. What I can say for a fact is that he has an amazing wife. One who with every word that she writes holds on to hope that there is healing for her husband, and the father of her child! They have a little boy named Lincoln who I pray will know his father for years to come. I think of the "discussions" that Gary and I have had over the last few days in my frustration with life right now. I may be frustrated with late night basketball games, Age of Empires, or that in Bolivian traffic it took him 3 times as long as normal to get home for lunch. But the truth of the matter is that I have an amazing husband, who is healthy, present, and engaged in our life. A husband who is a great daddy, who loves to make memories with his son, and who I pray will have many years more to come with Nathan. I am blessed with a husband who handles this still culture shocked missionary wife gracefully amidst the occasional meltdown, and who sees beyond the craziness to see the growth and beauty that God has placed within me, when I cannot see it myself.

So there's not Silver Bells playing in the grocery store here, so I'm wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt as I put up our Christmas tree, so Nathan is enduring teething a little less pleasantly than I would like, so Gary's more of an extravert than I am, so I miss friends and family from home sometimes so that my heart aches, I am still blessed. The pity party stops here. Thank you Father for reminding me of the blessings you have placed in my life. Thank you for reminding me that this was not a bargain that we made, but a commitment, and that you are faithful to your promises. Thank you for Nathan, and thank you, after 6 years of marriage today... for my precious husband Gary. You are so good to me God, may my life tell you everyday how thankful I am.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Doing my part :)

There have many posts recently written by bloggers about doing their part in voting. Well, this wednesday morning I did my part too :) Only my part was voting for Emmitt Smith in Dancing with the Stars. Now mind you... I did not elect a new Senator, or vote for some promising new legislation, but from across the miles, I was proud to be an American! :) voting for Emmitt, a great dancer, and family man! Sorry to disappoint you voting Americans, I did not go to the polls, I logged into and voted to my heart's content! God bless democracy!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Newest Pic

Here is our newest team picture... all are growing :) Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Not edible

Well... I'm sure there is huge list of things that I will find in the upcoming months and years that are not edible... that my Nathan is going to try... but this morning I learned a valuable lesson... always put the baby soap/shampoo on the far side of the bathtub where little hands and fingers cannot get to them :) Because although they boast to be tear free... they are not gag and cough free when little ones decide to eat them for breakfast :) I told Gary... well at least he'll be clean... inside and out :) To all the concerned readers... no worries, it was only a 1/2 teaspoon or so... nothing serious... but seriously funny!

Monday, November 6, 2006

While you were sleeping...

No... this is not about some new crazy stunt that Nathan pulled while his mommy was sleeping :) This is about the mommy missing home... missing the holidays and popping in one of the Wallace sisters' favorite DVD's.... "While You Were Sleeping" to feel a little less disconnected. So in honor of the greatness of this chick flick... here are a few quotes... voiced often between Emily and I...

"Should've gotten the blue spruce... they're lighter"

"Joe Jr's still single..." "Yeah, that's a... shocker"

"Is this guy bothering you? Cause it kind a looks like he's.... leaning"

"I think the couch should go... right there"

"These mashed potatoes are sooooo CREAMY"

So for all the movie lovers... enjoy :) And what is your comfort movie of choice? Would love to hear!

Beautiful are the feet :)

Today I took some time out of the house... kiddo free... to go and have a pedicure. Which by the way... if you are interested in a great pedicure for 20Bs. (about $2.50) do I know the place! It might be a little more expensive if you factor in the plane trip that most of my readers would have to take to get here... but for us Cochabambinos, it's well worth it and one of the perks of living here. What you have to know is that my pedicure this afternoon lasted almost 2 hours. It's amazing what living in a drier climate... where this mommy hates wearing shoes around the house (wood and tile floors) and walks on the rock streets in her flip flops :) ... can do to the feet. But the young lady doing my pedicure this afternoon was very gracious and very patient (4 soakings and 4 filings later :) It was great language practice too... I had carried a book with me to read while I soaked, but these ladies were ready to chat :) And I was all about it after I found out that they had a true file to work on my feet. To understand my appreciation... you have to know that when I last went to get a pedicure in Cochabamba (in February I think it was) after soaking in hot water... the beautician pulled out a cheese grater to work on my heels (and NO they were not that bad :) Recounting the experience to the ladies today at the beauty shop... they asked me what year that happened in... because in the "old days" they used to use those. Okay... seriously do I look old enough to have experienced the "old days" :) and they got a chuckle when they found out it happened just this year! So all in all... I brought a smile to the beauticians faces today... lively conversation to the beauty shop... and my feet look worlds better :) Come on down anytime for a pedicure :) my treat :) (the pedicure that is... sorry I can't afford the plane ticket :)

Saturday, November 4, 2006

The many faces of Nathan

I'm sure that all mommies in this world can give witness to the joy we get out of the sweet... and at times silly faces of our bundles of joy. I have been trying to capture some of Nathan's new ones on film and during pool time today he happened to cooperate. So here is the source of most of this mommy's smiles and laughter lately :) Hope his silliness brings a smile to your face today!

Pool time

So here in Cochabamba in our new house we have a small pool out back... and Nathan gave it a try today with his daddy. It was a little chilly which explains Nathan still wearing his shirt... we weren't exactly expecting a swim :) But none the less... here's proof that we are enjoying the water thing alot better than we were a few weeks ago... which basically everyone we visited at home can attest to was a miserable experience :) Here are some new pictures of our splash monster :)