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?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Warning to Mommy...

Dear Mommy,

I just wanted to warn you... When you make a deal with me that if I eat all my banana I can have a bite of brownie... and then I uphold my end of the bargain, but you forget to cut me said brownie... this is what will happen... every time :) Consider yourself warned...

Love, Nathan
PS - they were really yummy Mommy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

So difficult...

What is it exactly about family photos that is so difficult? Is it keeping the shirts of your three year old and 8 month old clean, cracker and drool free? Is it pulling your husband away from the four conversations he's trying to have at the same time? Is it trying to get your 8 month old's thumb out of his mouth for two seconds? Or is it trying to capture those sweet smiles that you witness all day long as a mommy, but just can't seem to capture on film? Well, for us this past Sunday it was a little bit of it all...

Nathan says... Could you guys be any more boring?

And just to prove that Grant does smile, and stop sucking his thumb occasionally, here you go :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A little cookie goes a long way...

So I finally got around to watching Stranger than Fiction the other day (I know it's been out for awhile, but remember, I have two small children at home that do occasionally require attention). It was interesting for sure, and in the midst of watching it, I think I found my new favorite movie quote... although, "These mashed potatoes are so creamy" will always be a tough one to beat. I loved when the character Ana looks at Harold and in describing her decision to leave law school and take up baking says... "If I was gonna make the world a better place, I'd do it with cookies!" I think she and I could be very good friends :)

I love the impact that doing something small, but thoughtful like making cookies can have. I've used the theory many a time here in Bolivia... whether it's to get in good with my new English students (who just happen to be Nathan's teachers at his preschool), minister to someone in the church who's down, or ask forgiveness of the customs official I yelled at over a package (not one of my proudest moments that's for sure!) a good cookie (no-bakes are the sure fire hit with the Cochabambinos) does wonders to overcome cultural barriers, and human blunders :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Grant, Grant, and more Grant :)

Hello blog world... it's Grant. This is my first official post and I'm super duper excited! I know that Mommy has written about me before and has shared pictures of me with you all, but I thought it was time I spoke for myself. Mommy decided to try and take a few new pictures of me tonight since I'm sitting up byself like a champ (not that I'm bragging or anything :) but since I love my thumb as much as I do... it was a little hard for her to catch me in a good pose... I'm pretty sneaky like that :) So for your viewing pleasure, here was our photo shoot from tonight... all my many faces, serious, silly, and otherwise :) Until next time... Grant.
Here... it... comes...
And... in... the... mouth... :)
Here I was watching Daddy come in the room... he's one of my all time favorite people right now!

Making silly faces back at Daddy while he was trying to make me smile :)

He's still trying to make me smile :)

Silly Daddy, you have to work harder than that :)
Did I mention I really like my thumb? :)
The only picture I gave Mommy straight on, no thumb :) Did Mommy tell you how big I'm getting? I'm weighing in at over 20 pounds already. My Mommy says it's 20 pounds of cuddle bug :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things...

So one thing you learn on the mission field is there are many many things that you can learn to live without. You learn to improvise, splurge insanely while home on furlough, or simply dream of the things you miss (I literally smelled my Dad's chocolate chip cookies in a dream the other night :) imagine my disappoint when I awoke...) But occasionally on your trip to the Americanized supermarket you will find treasures that will grace the shelves of your pantry for a rainy day and until then, bring smile, upon smile, upon smile to your face :) Here are a few of mine...

This is the first time in almost three years that I have found blueberry muffins... I know, so great right?!! The thing about blueberry muffins is they are one of my favorites... and even though I've gotten pretty handy in the kitchen making things from scratch, there are no fresh, nor canned blueberries to be had in Bolivia. So this was super fun to find... as were the chocolate chip muffins, you can't go wrong with real chocolate chips.

And in our three years here I have not once seen dryer sheets. Most Bolivians wash by hand and line dry, so if they use some type of softener it's a liquid softener rinsed in after the wash. You cannot even imagine the elation (I know it sounds dramatic, but it's not!) that I had in finding dryer sheets! I stood in the aisle for who knows how long just smelling the box! I know that the people around me probably thought I belonged on the street outside with the local glue sniffers, but I didn't care :) You never really realize the power in that little bitty dryer sheet until you go without them for years. I've found some great liquid softeners here, but they're just not the same!

And who can pass up some real name brand Ziplocs I ask you? Not many missionaries I dare say... and gallon size at that! Thanks for indulging me in my recounting of the favorite things now tucked away safely in my pantry :) (oh, and did I mention the marshmallow creme and Goldfish? It was a good week in the Bull house :)