Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nathan's birthday week... 4 years old!!!

So in all my pregnant wisdom and clear thinking, I (the crazy mommy) thought that as Nathan's fourth birthday approached, we would try something different this year :) I have a friend from college who loves to celebrate birthday weeks for those she loves (i.e. her hubby and kids). Sounds like fun right? And it really was so so so much fun, and it actually did help to spread out the fun over a week as opposed to having all the craziness in one day. My stamina is not great these days :)

So we started on Monday after Nathan got home from school and celebrated all week long... birthday signs, birthday balloons, a present everyday, cupcakes (for his school party that we didn't have since he was under the weather that day), birthday cakes for church and a team birthday party to wrap up the week.

I love that everyday he got to remember how much he is loved and cherished... how much we have loved watching him grow over the past 4 years... and how much we are trusting God to continue to grow him into the man he is meant to be. Nathan has been such a great first child for Gary and I, teaching us so much about ourselves, how to be parents, and even better how to understand God's love for us as we grow in our love for Nathan. He's a great big brother who really looks out for Grant (when he's not stealing his toys :). He gets more affectionate as time goes on (which this mommy loves) and is really growing into his personality. We pray that God will continue to guide us and show us the best way to raise him so that one day we will not only call him our son, but our brother in Christ... thank you to those who have helped us along in this journey of parenting Nathan and celebrated with us the joy of our firstborn!

Opening our first day's present.

This is what happened when I said... Nathan, hold up your present and smile... not exactly what I was going for :) but in his defense... he is smiling from behind his airplanes!

One of the things I love about Nathan... When he saw that there were four planes he said to me, Look Mommy, one for you, one for Daddy, one for brother and one for me! Sweet boy!

And even though we didn't get to take our cupcakes to school, that didn't keep us from enjoying them at home :)

Even Grant got in on the action!

More birthday present fun from Nena and Papa!

Since his birthday was actually on Sunday we made cakes to take to church... they definitely evolved in the decorating process :) but I think they turned out good and he liked them, so that's all that matters! :)

And to round out birthday week we had our team birthday party Sunday night with (yes you guessed it...) more cake - ok, actually brownies, and alot of energy and fun in our apartment. Nathan's Nena and Do-Do picked out these fancy party decorations and when Nathan woke up from his nap to a table ready for fun... he was in heaven!
And last but not least... having some fun with mommy and our new birthday presents... talk about some cool bead bugs... the fun has just begun! :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


One of the fun things about having stateside visitors is getting the chance to see Cochabamba as if for the first time again :) This past weekend we were blessed to have Derek, Ben and Julie from our supporting congregation of Westside Church of Christ (in Round Rock, TX) come and visit. The trip was fast and furious, but we're so thankful they made the sacrifice to come and see us and the work that we do here. They were great travelers who were up for anything and really interested in doing as much as possible during their time here. They got some great pictures that I thought I'd share with you so that you can catch their glimpse of Cochabamba, and see all you'd get to be a part of if you make the journey to Bolivia to see the Bull family :)

Downtown Cochabamba right across the street from the church office.

Anybody need a shoe shine? :)

I know they came all the way down here just to ride on the famous Bolivian "micros"... needless to say that's not one of the adventures we decided to have :)
I forget sometimes how beautiful the flowers are here in the middle of the city... just wait until we hit spring and summer, man I can't wait!

What... a parade downtown for no reason at all? No, surely not! (insert serious sarcasm :)
Good 'ol Ben... always up for humoring our Nathan and having a great time doing it (at least we hope he had a great time... we know Nathan did!)

When they went by the office to visit and meet our secretary Gabriela... they had the wonderful opportunity to meet her handy assistant :) we're just waiting for him to be put on the payroll... a mom can dream right? :)

We made sure to take them by our favorite ice cream shop... hey, a pregnant woman's gotta use every excuse she can for a good dip of ice cream right?
They were great troopers at the Saturday market, enjoying seeing new fruits and vegetables and watching the entire process of buying what we need for the week ahead.

A type of Bolivian potato that I've never seen in the states... I really gotta give it a try sometime... they say they're really good baked with a roast in the oven... maybe next week :)
And no, I did not make them try what you see above... which yes, is cow tongue and other various parts that we'll leave to the imagination.
They did a great job at church on Sunday despite the language barrier. Even Julie got in on the potluck action by serving in the kitchen... now that's my kind of visitors!
Ben and Julie with Bruno at church on Sunday. Julie on KP duty :)
On Monday before their flight out, they were invited to attend a traditional birthday lunch for Johnny, one of the members from church. They got to try new foods, hear a mariachi band play for the birthday "boy", and watch the tradition of shoving his face into the birthday cake after blowing out the candles... they also managed to take some great pictures of Nathan and all the fun he had at the party too :)
The band.
Johnny, one of our brothers in Christ who recently placed membership with his wife Ligia, and their three children Rosa, Ricky, and Mateo (Nathan's new best friend).Nathan loving his time outside to play!

Nathan and Mateo... truly two peas in a pod!

To Derek, Ben, and Julie, thank you so much for coming to see us, hauling down goodies from our families and friends, having the desire to see what our work here is all about, loving on your Bolivian brothers and sisters, and encouraging us beyond what you will ever know! We loved having you in our home and look forward to the next time we meet again! God bless!

Sunday marked two months...

I wish you could have been there. I know you may not have understood the Spanish being spoken, that you would not have known everyone by name, and that you may have been overwhelmed... but what I am sure of is that you still would have understood. You would have understood that a body of believers are still grieving, mourning, supporting each other, praying, crying, and yet rejoicing in the triumphs we have experienced... yet all of it TOGETHER. It was amazing to be there and watch our Bolivian brothers and sisters express the emotions they still have, hold each other, lay hands on each other, pray over each other and sing words of encouragement to each other (even if that meant singing into a cell phone held up in the middle of service to those who could not be with us physically that morning). It was almost more than I could bear emotionally at times to watch parents and teens circle around each other and hold each other as they prayed for their group, their families, their recoveries and their faith...
It touched my heart and soul to watch Leticia present a Bible to a mother from the pueblo Poho and her son who were there at the scene of the accident, carrying our kids up to the road to reach medical help and recovering the personal items that were thrown from the bus during the accident. What you must know is that when there is a bus accident of any magnitude, it is usually very rare for people to come and help in this way... to put their own lives' in danger... to be a peace and a calm amongst such chaos... and to recover personal items that are usually just counted as lost or stolen... well, let's just say it was miraculous to say the least. To watch parents meet this precious woman and her son, hug face to face, greet each other with a kiss (and tear marked cheeks) and thank her for caring for their children in a time when they could not... let's just say I'm crying all over again just reliving it with you now...

It brought such tremendous joy to my heart to meet Kevin for the first time and to have him back amongst us, wheelchair and all :) Kevin is the cousin of two of our youth who had begun to attend just recently this summer with his mom and little sister. He's been homebound and in a wheelchair since the accident and has been unable to attend services... but was there with this precious smile on his face and a spirit of gratitude to be with his friends and family again.
The struggle that the parents continue to deal with who lost daughters in the wreck weighs so heavy on my heart. So to capture this moment of Wendy (far left - mother of Ariana) and Jorge and Sandra (parents of Diana) being prayed over during worship on Sunday is one that I will treasure for years to come. The strength that they have shown has been amazing amidst this time of heart break. As a mother now I can only begin to imagine what they suffer on a daily basis and continue to pray that God will give them the strength, comfort, and guidance that they need to hold to Him and be the parents that their surviving children need.
Yet, in the middle of heartache and struggle, our seats were full... chairs were being brought out through service until the end and we were blessed to have the assurance that God is with us through this all... that He has never left us, will never leave us, and will continue to bless HIS work here in Cochabamba no matter what Satan tries to throw our way!

In a world that is so strongly Catholic and places such strong emphasis on the masses that take place following a death, it was an honor to be able to give a Christian alternative for the families of our youth group... a place where they could come together on the date that marked two months from the accident and pray, worship and continue to remember the God that we serve even amidst the trials of this world. Please continue to pray for our church body, those who continue to recover physically from the accident, and for the families of Ariana, Diana, and Belen as they continue to grieve the loss of their precious girls'.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Worn out...

Well, our stateside visitors have come and gone. Their trip was short and sweet, but so appreciated and welcomed and we're so glad they made the sacrifice to come and see us and the work here in Cochabamba. I'm working on a few new posts of their visit and of this past Sunday (which marked the two month date of the bus accident), but thought I'd sign off for the night with new pictures of the boys :) One thing about visitors is that they give such wonderful attention to our kids. And this group was no exception :) so much so that I think the boys had their fill and then some... especially since this is what I found in various spots of the apartment over the past couple days...

(We're trying to decide since Grant's in the 95% percentile for height and over 100% percentile for weight, and with the gigantor hands that you see above whether he'll end up being our tight end or quarterback :) maybe he'll be our basketball player that can palm a ball at the age of two :)

From the mommy who gets to go to bed early tonight with both boys sacked out... THANK YOU VISITORS for all your hard work in wearing these two out :) it's not an easy job!