Saturday, December 27, 2008

Big boys...

How time flies! I went to the market this morning carrying Grant in the wrap and the ladies that I usually buy from were shocked at how big he has gotten. I haven't been to the Saturday market in months and months. They remember a seriously pregnant gringa with a crazy two year old running circles around her :) And now that crazy two year old is three, staying at home with Daddy while Mommy does the shopping and the little one I carried within I now carry (and can I just say what a lug he is? :) on my hip. I was looking over our recent pictures of the boys and was reminded of just how big they are getting. Nathan got a big boy bike for Christmas and took it out for a spin yesterday with his daddy, and last night the boys took their first bath together. I'm so thankful they're close in age and will grow up together, for better or worse :) I'm trying to remember and better learn the art of appreciating and enjoying every stage of my little ones lives' (something I struggle with daily... remembering that the diapers, bottles and babyness will pass all too fast leaving big boys in its place). So for now I will be thankful for baby snuggles, baby fat rolls :) and baby jibber jabber, knowing that they make up for the yuckies of babyland that I am ready to leave behind.
How cool is this place? The big park in town is divided into two sides... one for playgrounds and one for bikes. The bike side is what you see Nathan riding in, fully equipped with traffic lights (although they don't obey them in the street with cars so why should they obey them on bikes :) and traffic markers. He had SO much fun with his Daddy (and I had so much fun knowing that he's at the age now where he can go and do with his daddy all by himself :).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Photo Shoot...

Well, before the Christmas craziness began tonight we attempted to capture a few pictures of the boys and here's what we got :) We pray that you and your families have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. May God bless you with wonderful moments, precious memories, and the blessing of those you love around you. Merry Christmas from the Bulls!

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's officially Christmas...

Christmas can officially begin because there's now enough homemade caramel corn on my kitchen counter to feed a small army :) Today was a baking frenzy... two loaves of pumpkin bread, over 80 no-bakes, three dozen lemon bars, and well, you can see how much popcorn :) I love the holidays, such a wonderful opportunity, oh alright... excuse to bake up a storm! Hope you are having fun enjoying the holidays wherever you are! Merry Christmas!

And because what good is a post without pictures of one of my precious boys :) Now tell me who does this first one remind you of?

Couldn't be his big brother could it? What is it with my boys and closed eyes?

And just because he looks so precious :) This is definitely his happy place... eating :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Here in the Bull house we like to teach 'em young the art of the red eye reduction squint :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fun was had by ALL!

Here in Cochabamba one of the things I miss most from our lives' in the states is the opportunity for interesting and fun activities for our kids. There's no children's museum, no children's theater, and though there is a zoo in Santa Cruz it's basically birds and crazy monkeys. So when fun things come to town we try to take advantage. This Monday I ran across two of our good American friends the Holmans. They told that the Backyardigans were coming to the coliseum here in town. This Thursday in fact. I called Gary and asked if he thought it would be a good idea and after a thumbs-up from daddy, it was a go. So today found us here...

and here...Nathan's faces ranged from... shocked...
to guilty (for mooching potato chips from a sweet lady behind us)...

to irritated... seriously stop with the pictures you guys... I'm trying to enjoy the show :)

to absolute glee...

I had more fun just watching the sheer joy on my precious little one's face as he yelled out for Tasha, Tyrone, Pablo, and the rest of his Backyardigan friends! It was worth the mounds of detergent (you had to buy two bags of detergent per ticket) and extra fees to watch him excited beyond words! Thank you Grannie Wallace and Grannie Sterne for the Christmas money that allowed us to all go! Nathan loved it and we really appreciate you both! Thanks Holmans for the heads up, ride to the show, and for bringing Nathan four of the sweetest dates he'll ever have :)
And just because I'm curious... could someone tell me why my child always seems to look so goofy in family photo shoots? We're seriously going to have to work on this :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

They think they're sooooo funny!

Today I told Nathan to go put some underwear on (again, running around in his birthday suit!)… when he came in wearing it on his head I realized I should have been a little more specific about where to put them :) He of course thought it was hysterical and laughed and laughed at himself... it's so much fun when they start learning how to play with humor :) I can only imagine the fun we have in store with two little boys running around the house together... oh the adventure... maybe I should start asking for prayers now :)

Oh and while we're on the topic of underwear... can I tell you how hard it is to discipline a child who's curled up in a ball on the floor, back (and backside) facing you? Through the wails and gnashing of teeth (on the part of the child, not you the parent :) you look down to see Mater smiling at you (screen printed across the backside of your sweet little boys undies). Oh my goodness, I couldn't hold it together. Sometimes you just have to laugh :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Call it a day...

So I think after a crib (including the bumper pads) covered in pukies, a booster seat (including the seat it was strapped to) covered in poopies, an ATM out of service (which in this cash only culture makes life an adventure), a pair of 2T/3T tightie whities hanging from my new angel tree topper, and a thirty minute power outage that almost resulted in a meltdown from Nathan who couldn't watch his new Winnie the Pooh Christmas movie (a tradition for we have to watch a new movie on nights that Daddy's not home) and I think it's about time to call it a day... whatcha think?


Yesterday Grant and I went to run errands... it's amazing how walking the streets can distract a 9 month old from the teething process! Nathan stayed home with his daddy to take a nap and when I got home I found band-aid wrappers covering the living room floor. I asked Gary what exactly happened while I was gone :) He then proceeded to tell me that because of the blister he has on his pinky toe, Nathan decided it was time to try out his doctoring skills.

Now the extent of Nathan's medical experiences here at the house is for scratches and owwwies (Okay, okay, there was the time we super glued his chin... but there was just the one time!). The "making it better" usually involves alcohol/hydrogen peroxide, neosporin, and a band-aid. It seems that Nathan decided to spare his daddy the pain of alcohol and went straight to the neosporin. Only (as we learned yesterday) in his 3 year old brain any tube of cream is neosporin. So as he approached daddy's foot with Lanacane Gary got a really good laugh :) Then Nathan showed off his fine motor skills by unwrapping and applying the band-aid to daddy's toe (only apparently Gary hadn't been behaving well because he got a boring band-aid... no Dora, Diego, or Curious George for Daddy).

Fast forward to this morning... I'm coming out of Grant's room from putting him down for a nap when Nathan comes running at me with Quincy (his little Einstein). And this is what I see...

It appears that Quincy had quite the accident and so again, Dr. Nathan to the rescue :) (can you see the Lanacane on Quincy's forehead?... Maybe in honor of Ralphie he had an adventure with his own Red Rider BB Gun... he could've shot his eye out!)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My three year old tree decorator...

So here's what happens when you leave your three-year-old in charge of the beads on the Christmas tree :) He definitely gets this from his daddy (Sorry the picture's a little fuzzy, but you get the idea, right?)
Here he is modeling his work of art... and his big boy underwear... that's right, Nathan's day-time potty-trained! Yea for no more diapers except at night! He did it all on his own, when he got good and ready, and I'm so thankful that I waited on him... it made all the difference in the world!

And because Grant's been getting alot of face time... here's another shot of my first born practicing his scissor skills. He's having so much fun and really getting good at cutting different shapes. We've made it an after brother goes to bed activity for just he and I and that's made it a special time that he really loves... and it keeps the vacuuming up teeny tiny pieces of paper to a minimum :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas here I come :)

Yesterday found me pulling down all my boxes of Christmas decorations... I know, I know, it's not Thanksgiving yet. But you see here in Cochabamba I don't have the benefit (and yes I do mean benefit) of the holiday advertising, Christmas music on the radio or in stores, and the cooling temperatures to help me get into the holiday spirit. So yes, I'll confess I pulled out the Christmas CD's over a month ago. I know to some people it's an unforgiveable offense, but you know, you do what 'ya gotta do to make it when you're far from home over the holidays.

In listening to my beloved Christmas music I was reminded of a long ago miscommunication between myself and Karen Carpenter. I grew up on the Carpenter's Christmas album and am a better person for it :) But as a little girl I remember being very confused with the lyrics, "And so I'm offering this Christmas wish, to kiss from 1 to 92." Did that mean that you were supposed to kiss someone 92 times... Did it mean you should kiss for a count of 1 to 92... this perplexed me for years, until one day the comic strip "ah-ha" light bulb went off above my head as I realized it was "to kids from 1 to 92". Oh the fun there is to be had in the confusion of communication :) Tomorrow I'd love to share some thoughts with you on our holidays this year... tonight my brain's so tired you just get the kissing story... until tomorrow when my lucid thoughts return... here's to kissing from 1 to 92 :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gotta love these boys :)

Don't you love those moments where your kids say something and for lack of perfectly mastering the English language at three years old :) it just makes you laugh? In our apartment, wooden floors and a hallway the length of the apartment make sliding in sock feet super-duper fun. So the other day I heard a serious bust from the kitchen... I walked into the hallway to watch Nathan stand up, brush himself off, and say... "Nathan's so slippery". Not... the floor's so slippery. Not... my socks are so slippery. No... Nathan's so slippery :) I love the way his little brain works. And although he's pushing his limits to the max right now, he's become more affectionate and sweet than ever and for that I'm so thankful! The hugs, kisses, and I love you's keep me going through the whining and time-outs.

Grant is growing and changing so fast. It seems to be going so much faster with him than it did with Nathan. Granted, we were up to our ears in culture shock with Nathan and so every day seemed like a year, but with Grant it seems to be flying by. He's crawling around and getting into everything which makes me realize even better the differences between a three year old and an almost nine month old. The other day while in his walker he decided it would be a great idea to pull the banana basket into the walker with him and see what the peel of a banana tastes like... not sure he's a fan :) And for your viewing enjoyment... some still shots of him crawling toward me in the kitchen... So that's our Nathan/Grant update for the week... thanks for tuning and I promise to write something of more substance the next time I'm here :)

I'm thinking the stuff inside the peeling has to taste better than this :)
And just in case you were worried that Grant wasn't getting enough to eat :)

Look at that sweet face :)
Here he comes!

You like that tongue action?

Just so you know... this is not as easy as it looks :)

Seriously Mom... too close with the flash!

I'm wondering... since I made it all the way over here...

why exactly are you not picking me up and holding me yet?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mother letter...

I recently stumbled across (I'm not cool enough to know how to link it better than that :) and was intrigued with the commitment this family has to returning to what Christmas is really all about... I wrote a letter for this husband and invite any Mommies out there reading to do the same... It's a wonderful experience being able to write to a fellow mommy, and reminds you in so many ways the gift that we've been given to mother our little treasures... Here's a taste of the close of my letter...

There is a Godly reason that I was given these two particular boys to raise and love. They have made me a mommy, and in that, a different person in many ways. They have taught me the joys of the little things, the excitement in life itself, the gift of laughter so deep that it makes your tummy hurt, tickle wars so fierce you wonder when you’ll catch your breath, playing chase from one end of the house to the other, the fun in discovering toe jam and belly buttons, and dancing together until we're so dizzy we can't stand up. They have taught me that I am capable of things I never imagined. They have shown me in new ways my strengths and weaknesses as a woman, mommy, wife, and daughter of the King. I will forever be grateful for all that they've taught me about myself and about this life. And as my father always told us, I will love them more than my next breath

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A fly on the wall...

A friend from college recently encouraged people on her blog to sneak up on your children (especially if you have more than one) and listen to them interact every chance that you can... So tonight I stood in the hallway listening to Nathan and Grant and this is what I heard (understanding that Grant is now crawling around...) Nathan to Grant, "Come here brother, insert kissy noises that he used to call Lucy with, Come here brother..." So apparently for Nathan there's no real need for a puppy dog in the house when you have a crawling brother :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Good night to all...

Last night was a great night to be a Cochabambino. Aurora, one of the Cochabamba soccer teams, won the national championship! Yea Aurora! (although in the Bull house we don't have any particular team affiliations, we were excited that a Cochabamba team won!) So you can imagine the fireworks and car honking that went on into the wee hours of the morning... but it wasn't so annoying, knowing that they were being done in celebration of something great instead of in protest of something awful! Then about 10 o'clock we got a wonderful wonderful rain. I was sitting back on our bed working on some needlepoint and I heard the beautiful sound of steady rain. Cochabamba is not famous for it's rain... Usually in Cochabamba this time of year we just get 5 or 10 minute showers, but last night it was a long steady rain. So I fell asleep with our bedroom door cracked to the breeze and sound of fresh rain. Talk about a good night's sleep! This morning brought beautiful sunshine with clear skies... less smog and dust throughout the city thanks to the rain, fresh pastries at my favorite bakery (totally worth making the trip to Cochabamba just for this bakery... besides the fact that you'd be coming to see us :), errands run, and a currently napping baby, leaving me time to blog and start on lunch... now that's my kind of day :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Come and eat...

Here in Bolivia we don't celebrate fall festivals (since we're entering our summer season) or Halloween. But there are a few days here like the day of the dead and the day of the saints that are around the time of Halloween. The idea is that Bolivians celebrate the lives' of their deceased loved ones by visiting their graves. But it doesn't stop there. Food is carried to the graves and laid upon the ground near the headstone or marker, and left for the deceased loved one to come and eat. In the home a huge, and I do mean huge, meal is prepared in hopes that the souls or spirits of their loved ones' will return and partake.

Sonia and I got a good laugh the other day as she recounted a story of Nelson (her boyfriend) as a child. His grandmother had prepared the traditional feast for their deceased loved ones and left served plates at chairs around the table. Enter Nelson and his cousin. The two young boys are hungry and seeing the plate set with food decide it's time to eat :) A bite becomes a portion and a portion becomes a plate full and before you know it empty plates now sit where once full servings stood. Reenter grandmother. Nelson's grandmother is now under the impression that her departed loved ones have actually returned to this earth, somehow eaten the food she prepared and were pleased. Nelson and his cousin to this day have not told his grandmother of their feast. And she continues to think that this particular year, the food she prepared was pleasing to their relatives and that they ate and were satisfied :) As you encounter pagan rituals in culture and as you confront them and what they stand for... occasionally it helps to laugh at the darkness, reminding yourself that God is so much greater, so much wiser and everything else in comparison is simply silliness.

(Not that I treat the rituals of Bolivians as silliness, wow that would put up some walls fast... it's just that as we talk in our home among ourselves sometimes the things done here seem silly to us. It's always important though to remember that many of the things that we as Americans do seem silly to Bolivians. In remembering that you lose that sense of superiority and are reminded that we are all simply God's children and we have all taken on things of this world (whether good or bad) that to God must seem simply silly... can you think of any?)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

They'll be comin' round the mountain :)

This past weekend marked the second annual National Family Encampment for Bolivia. The church here in Cochabamba hosted and it went really well. Due to continued political unrest many from Santa Cruz and La Paz weren't able to come... but we did have two leaders from Santa Cruz and their wives', a great group from Sucre and a good turn out from the church here.

The encampment was held about 45 minutes outside of town at a retreat center and with the soccer field, swings, playground, pool and volleyball court, a good time was had by all :) (You can just imagine how Nathan was in heaven having Michaela and Jubilee right next door all weekend PLUS a huge playground to go crazy on... he was beside himself :) It is always such an encouragement to have the brothers and sisters from across Bolivia under one roof, having fellowship together, worshipping together, and getting to know each other better and better. It is so uplifting for the body of Christ and our spirits as individuals as well!

Roland Bowen and Grover Beakley came down from Brownwood, TX to be with us and we were so happy to have them here. These two men are very dear to our hearts in the Bull family and it's always such a treat to have them here to visit. Roland did a great job leading discussions throughout the weekend on the 5 love languages and how we can serve each other in the body of Christ. Grover (one of our precious elders from Austin Avenue C of C) came along for the ride and was such an encouragement to Gary and I and a great help with Grant and Nathan :) Grover's grandkids are older than our little ones, but you wouldn't have known it to watch him! He got right in there, rolled his sleeves up and played hard :) I think Roland is one of Nathan's favorite big-people playmates. Roland is always up for a trip to the playground, bookreading, or whatever else Nathan can think of to wear him out :) Thank you both for making the sacrifice to be here with us... and a special thank you to your wives and families for sacrificing as well!

I thought I'd leave you with some pictures of the fun times had... enjoy :)

Here they come!
Julie and Trish did a great job on the kids classes and crafts during the devotionals! This is Carla, or as we call her... Carlita, working hard.

Do you remember that fun that was had by all? Here's a picture of it :)

The faithful volleyball spectators.

We had a few birthdays over the weekend and in Bolivian tradition after the Happy Birthdays are sung the birthday boy or girl takes a big bite out of their cake... it's all fun and games folks until someone pushes your face into the cake as you take your bite... trust me, I've seen it happen :)

Roland Bowen sharing lessons on the five love languages.

Did I mention that Nathan had a great time?

Nathan on the slide... for those of you who know Nathan well, you know the adventure that Bolivian playgrounds can be to our ever graceful son as they are almost entirely made of concrete as you can see :)

Swinging with Grant... don't lose that thumb Grant!

So if you're sharing a room as a family for a weekend, it turns out you can learn to share :) although doesn't Nathan look just thrilled about it?

Oh my goodness, how beautiful are those Marcum girls I ask you?