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?)