Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fun times at the playground . . .

Ford thinks he is a big boy and therefore rides and/or climbs everything. I have to remind myself that he is only 16 months old because he acts so much older than that. This is him riding the merry-go-round thing (holding on with one hand because to hold on with two is way uncool and for babies apparently!).
Claire has found that swings are international and for that she is grateful.

True to big-boy fashion Ford ran straight for the big kid swing passing the baby swing in the process. Slow down little man! You are still the baby - at least for a few more months!
Here is the big boy making a quick break for the merry-go-round again!
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Since the first day we arrived in Lima Claire has wanted to ride the big red "Mirabus" (which is so much more fun to say in Spanish - "Mira-boose"). What 3 year old wouldn't want to ride a double decker bus? Since Rhett is gone for several days I thought this might be a good time to take in a short tour of Miraflores on the ole 'boose with the kids. Note to self: any tourist activity is easier with 2 parents. So we signed up for the 11am 1 hour tour of Miraflores (the area of Lima where we live). We arrived early bought tickets then went to the park to play while we waited for our departure. Side note: I love how if something really leaves or happens at a certain time they have to specify that on the ticket. Otherwise the whole idea of punctuality is not part of the culture here - very difficult for me because I am NEVER late and if I am late be prepared because I will be stressed out when I get there.
Anyway, maybe you can appreciate from this picture how hot it was. Blazing. Not the best day to ride in an open top bus but oh well. Behind my little wilted flower is Parque de Kennedy which besides having amazing flowers also has a fun playground and is a really nice place to stroll. We come here often to the playground and found a fun little cafe that served up a great dinner (where Claire had her first crepe and was a fan!) AND there is a wonderful ice cream parlor just off the park. You have to respect a country where eating ice cream appears to be a national past time. There is ice cream for sale everywhere! Men drive bikes with little freezers in the front all around town peddaling their ice cold goodies. This particular ice cream store has a picture menu with every kind of creature you could possibly want made out of ice cream. We opted for a "Miky" and "Miny" and Claire has already lined up the panda and mariposa that she wants in the future. Oh yeah and these fun little creations cost about $2. How great is that? I think ice cream is better when it is 1. cheap and 2. soft. Not hard like we sell it in the U.S. but more like gelato. Yum. I'll take pictures next time to share.
The tour itself wasn't that great. It was done in both Spanish and English but by the time the girl started the English commentary we were already a block or so past what she was talking about. We also got into a small wreck! We were making a right turn and true to Peruvian driving tactics a little car behind us tried to sneak to the right and make the turn. Come on! Everyone knows buses make wide right turns. Anyway, we heard frantic honking and then saw that we had wedged the little Sentra against the curb. The driver was all ticked off but it was obviously his fault. The police were there in about 35 seconds and the bus driver was nice enough to move us to some shade while they worked it out. Claire says the "little black car wasn't following directions and that is why he got smushed". There is a good life lesson there - I hope remebers that if you don't follow directions you might get smushed.

The picture above is from the tour. It is typical of the hazy fog that covers Lima a lot - I hear especially during the winter months. It's not smoggy (although there is some of that too) it's just a strange fog. I once thought our building was on fire because it was floating past our windows and looked just like smoke! I think it has something to do with El Nino or La Nina or one of those weather phenomenons that impacts this area. I'm no meteorologist I just know it can be foggy here at times!
This is El Parque de Amour. Yes those are two people making out or, um, lovingly embracing - does that sound better? This is a landmark in the city overlooking the ocean and, yes, there were lots of other couples in the park emulating the statue!
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Playa La Mina

This was Ford's first time going to the beach! He loved it! We put him down in the sand and he ran straight for the water. Rhett took him in and even though it was chilly he laughed and loved the waves. I guess he got the dislike of boats and the love of the beach from me. I remember Claire's first real beach experience when she was a little older than he is now. She hated it - did not want to get her feet or shoes dirty. He was just the opposite and loved the sand. Luckily Claire is over her sand thing now and just wants to make sandcastles (well Cinderella and Belle castles) in the sand.
He could have done this for hours, I think! They had so much fun we are hoping to take them back to the beach at some point before we leave Peru.

Sorry the pictures are all chopped up. This is the only way I could get them loaded on to blogger. Not the way I would have chosen to tell the story but you get the idea . . .

Rhett leaves on Thursday for Cusco so I'll be on my own with the kiddos for several days. So in anticipation I'm going to a movie and dinner with some of the girls tonight and planning a mani/pedi (for $7!!!) tomorrow night. You can pray for Rhett's trip this weekend (Thurs-Sunday). They will be studying high altitude medicine and taking a trip to Machu Picchu. Unfortunately, high altitude (11,000 feet) at this point in my pregnancy would mean not enough oxygen for Little Baby and perhaps even an early entrance into this world so I am staying back "home" in Lima. We explained to Claire that Daddy is going on a field trip to the mountains just like her class went on a field trip to Homewood Park. Of course she wanted to go too but we explained that God made the mountains so high that Little Baby would get sick so we have to stay here. We promised we would bring her back one day and we would all go hiking up in the mountains. She seemed OK with that. Pray for his safety while traveling (flying) to Cusco and that he won't suffer from altitude sickness. I'm going to show him how to use the camera and force him to take a few pictures while he is there (he is not a picture taker if you can't tell) so I can see what I missed :(
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Sea lions!

This beach was FULL of sea lions! They were really loud and I can't imagine that beach is a very pleasant place to be - even for a sea lion. If you look closely you can see all the little black baby sea lions. So cute!

I'm no expert but isn't his a seal?
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Birds anyone?

I'm quite sure I've never seen so many birds before. Interestingly, the bird poo from the islands is a big commodity. There was even a short war over it at one point in history. Every 5 or 10 years now they come and scrape all the bird poo away and use it to make what must be quite a fertilizer with it.

I'm not even sure all the different birds we saw! I enjoyed seeing the pelicans and penguins the most. I tried my best with the camera but I had Ford in my lap and could only shoot with one hand!
There is a sea lion hiding in this picture but I just love the way the water looks. There is a current that comes up here straight from Antarctica that is c-o-l-d but is this beautiful blue-green color.
Here is a sleepy sea lion who has found a private perch to take a rest!
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Family pictures from the Ballestas

Claire and Daddy on the boat ready to go! Claire was SO excited and loved every minute of this excursion (although she said she didn't like getting splashed by the water when the boat was going "so fast").
Rhett says when we travel I never have a hat or the right shoes. Well, this was no exception. I had the right shoes for this trip but no hat so Claire and I bought these precious tourist hats on the dock. The were necessary for fear of getting bird-pooped-on!
Here is Claire with the "Candleabra" sand carving that reportedly has been there for 2,000 years. Pretty cool.

Ford wasn't a big fan of the boat. He must get this from me. As much fun as boats appear to be my usual constant puking pretty much ruins any fun I might have on one. Luckily, I felt pretty good for this trip and didn't get sick at all. Ford was quite interested in the engines right behind us and eventually was really excited by some of the birds (he made his generic barking/elephant noise at them). However, when we got back on dry land he saw a mangy stray dog and had a fit over it. He was way more excited about that dog than anything he saw on our boat ride! At least he is easy to please.
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Monday, February 23, 2009

La Islas Ballestas - in words for now

I'm having problems uploading my pictures tonight so I will try again tomorrow. Here is the verbal version for now . . .

We got a wonderful chance to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and take a little trip this past weekend. We went about 4hours south of Lima to a city on the coast called Paracas. Sounds simple enough right? Well, remember we are still in a developing country so things tend to get rather complicated. We started out taking a taxi to meet up with the other people who we would be traveling with (all 17 of us - and we aren't a fan of group travel even when we are the only ones with kids). We met up then took another taxi to the ole bus station in Lima. Fun times had by all there. We packed lightly and had just enough to keep our eyes and hands on at all times. There was a breakdown of communication at some point and instead of Claire getting the seat we had wanted for her the person handling the transaction for us tried to do us a favor and not get her a paid seat (about $4) so we ended up boarding the bus with all four of us in two seats. You may not see that as a really big deal but there were two problems. 1. I am 28 weeks preggo and have little lap to speak of and 2. when the person reclines in front of you (which they automatically do because the person in front of them is) the seat very literally almost touched my belly. The was a problem considering there was a 3 year old in my lap. Anyway, eventually we found a way to buy her a seat on the bus and things went a little smoother for the rest of the 4 hour bus ride.

Can I stop here and tell you how awesome my kids are. I mean seriously. They hung with us this entire journey and did not complain, cry or have issue of any kind the entire way. It was hot (no a/c on the bus), very cramped and just generally uncomfortable but they didn't seem to notice. There was also no bathroom on the bus. Can I tell you my 3 year old didn't have to go to the bathroom this entire trip??? Granted she may have been a little dehydrated but she just went in the bus station (in the pay toilet with no seat) and just waited until we got to the hotel to go again. They just sat and looked around, talked, played and eventually fell asleep. I was just so proud of them and everyone else was in awe. I think the rest of the single folks we were traveling with were a little concerned about traveling with us and the kids but they were pleasantly surprised and maybe realize that your cool life doesn't have to end when you have kids.

Anyway, after the big bus dropped us off on the side of the Pan American Highway near a town called Pisco we found another taxi to drive us the 30 minutes to Paracas. When we got to the hotel we found there had been a "problem" with our reservation and all of the rooms were gone. After much discussion they "found" a bungalow and a room at that hotel and a room at another hotel down the street (which ended up being a maid's quarters) but we were just happy to have a place to lay our heads that night. We headed to the restaurant to get something to eat. There was lots of drama there - we tried to order for us and the kids while everyone else we were with was having a drink so we could get the hungry kids fed and off to bed. Of course the one waitress in the restaurant was a bit overwhelmed and everyone else ended up getting their food first and eventually we realized our food was not coming at all. This is the point that I lost my patience :) We are still waiting for a lemonade and some french fries. Everyone was so great and helpful and basically just shared food off their plates so the kids could eat. I took two very tired and dirty children to get bathed and tucked in bed.

The room they "found" for us had an incredible view of the kitchen and we could hear all of the cooking and kitchen conversation as well as the dining area conversation. I collapsed into bed with Ford and Rhett with Claire and we listened to the loud noises all around. I had really been looking forward to some quiet after so many weeks of just about constant traffic, honking, sirens and other noises from our apartment. Oh well. We were laying there trying to fall asleep and Claire said "Daddy, do you hear your friends? They are having SO much fun! Do you hear them laughing?".

We got up early the next morning and headed out to the marina area to catch a boat to the Islas Ballestas which are known as the "Little Galapagos" here in Peru. I was thankful that I didn't throw up on this boat ride since I have been known to a time or two. The ride out to the islands was beautiful. We saw an ancient sand carving called the Candelabra that has been there for 2,000 years. We came upon the islands that were just wonderful. More birds than I could ever imagine! We enjoyed all of the pelicans, penguins and sea lions the most. The beach area was just covered with sea lions! There were tons of little baby sea lions too which were so cute. We even saw a mother teaching her baby how to swim. It was overall very impressive and the kids loved it. Ford really liked seeing the birds. Although when we got back to the dock he spotted a mangy stray dog and had a fit over it - way more excited about it than anything he saw on the boat!

We stopped nearby for a quick lunch at one of the seaside restaurant shacks then took another cab to meet up with some friends who had already headed to a lovely beach area on the National Reserve Park. The scenery on the way out there was pretty unbelievable. We are talking desert here - not even a cactus to speak of - just sand. There was a big earthquake there a little over a year ago that caused a tsunami that wiped out a lot of the coastal enterprises. We could still see the damage that had been sustained. Pretty incredible.

We made a quick stop off at La Mina beach which was a stunning place carved into the side of the sea cliffs. The cliffs were awesome because they offered lots of shade for those who wanted it - naturally! It was Ford's first time at the beach and as soon as I put his swimsuit on and put him down he literally took off running for the ocean. He and Rhett went for a fun swim and he laughed and played in the waves. He loved playing in the sand (quite a contrast from Claire's first beach experience!) and thought getting so dirty was so much fun. We made our way back to the hotel picked up our things (our big travel group had splintered off into several smaller ones by this point) and caught another taxi back to Pisco to catch the bus back to Lima. It had been a long day by this point but even so the kids were rock stars and didn't so much as whine on the way home.

It was a lot of travel in a short amount of time but it was so worth it. I was so happy to see some of the other scenery of Peru outside of my little slice of the city. It is such a diverse and beautiful country. We are just so thankful for this time together as a family to make memories and bond and travel together. We are so thankful for the opportunity to see our children's faces light up at the sight of a wild sea lion (or a wild dog for that matter!). It is just so refreshing to see the world through the excited eyes of our children.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Breaking the news gently

Do you remember when you were a child and thought the world was a wonderful, safe and happy place? There was no hint of all the ugliness that you now know exists just fun and warmth and love. Somewhere along the way we learned that if you run into the street you might get hit by a car and that some strangers are bad people. Suddenly we are initiated into the real world - a world marred by sin - broken and fallen with a lot of ugliness.

I look at my precious three year old little girl and see this process beginning in her. However, I feel like she is sort of on the fast track. Our kids are going to have a slightly different childhood than most typical American kids and part of that is exposure to some of the more ugly parts and things of this world that most Americans (not to mention American kids) never even get to see. Rhett and I reflect on our first experiences visiting the developing world when we were in our early twenties. Life changing to say the least. I came home from spending a week in Haiti when I was 21 completely wrecked with my whole idea of the world turned upside down. Rhett will tell you that the time that he spent in Haiti completely changed his entire life and relationship with God and set us on our current life course. We've both had other overseas experiences (traveling around Europe in college and a trip to Niagara Falls excluded :) that have impacted us as well. But nothing like the first time.

Being a typical American I had an idea about what it meant to be poor - dirty, down on your luck, perhaps even worthless or lazy. The images of kids in Africa with bulging bellies and swarming flies made me sad and made me want to help (I'm a nurse after all that compassion comes pretty naturally to me) but it still wasn't real. About 20 minutes after landing in Haiti it was real. A week later the smell of poverty was real. The feel of a listless starving child in my arms was real. The look on a mother's face as she watched her child slip away was real. I knew orphans by name. And loved them. I also now knew greed and corruption and saw the impact on innocent people. Most importantly I understood sin. I understood what it meant that I live in a fallen world. I felt God's love and compassion in a completely new way. I met Jesus there -in the ugly pit- in a totally new way. In a very real way. I've never been the same - praise God.

So now the conversations with my daughter have started. What does it mean to be an orphan? Why are some people hungry? Why does that little girl not have a doll? Remember she is three so I have a constant murmur of "Why?" in my ear. My first instinct is to make sugar coated answers that make it seem OK or avoid the questions but I know that isn't the right thing to do. Unfortunately she has to find out about this broken world.

Our time in Peru is her first introduction to another culture and it is a gentle transition. We live in a nice section of town and she likely won't be exposed to any of the harsher aspects of poverty that do exist here. However the other night we were in a taxi headed to my Spanish lesson when we saw a little boy about 6 years old darting between all of the stopped cars juggling and begging at the occupants of the cars for money. Of course she noticed this and asked me why he was doing it. She realized it wasn't just for fun or a game because it was dangerous to be out in the traffic. We saw another little girl doing gymnastics between all the cars at an intersection. Again tough questions. Explaining that they probably need money. (WHY?) Probably to buy food. (WHY?) She might be hungry. (WHY?) That is a great question. Why do little children have to juggle and do gymnastics in traffic to get money to buy food because they are hungry? I see her little face very concerned as she takes in the scene and the answers I'm offering to her questions. I see the facade start to crack away and her start to see the world as it really exists. I realize the questions will get tougher as the face of poverty gets closer and more raw when we move to Africa. We just wonder how her life will be different having learned about this uncomfortable reality so young in life. We pray it is a radically good thing for her and that God will use these experiences mightily in her life (and in her siblings lives too) that it gives her wisdom and maturity and spiritual insight. For now I just pray how to break the news to her gently . . .

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Rhett surprised both of his Valentine with flowers (I got red roses :) and bought chocolate treats for both of the kids too. The kids both made Rhett a Valentine and I gave him some chocolate (the real treat being that he doesn't have to share it with anyone). Claire recited a poem to Rhett: "Roses are red, violins are blue and I LOVE YOU!". It was precious.

We had a wonderful lunch yesterday at a place called Punta Azul that is right down the street from our apartment. We may need to make that a regular Saturday lunch routine. It was delicious (we both had seafood) and had a great atmosphere. We took long Valentine's Day naps then headed out to a party given by some of the course particpants. The kids had a really fun time playing with some new friends being silly and dancing and even put their feet in the pool. I was thankful for some time to get to know some of the people Rhett works with everyday a little better. Everyone is so nice and it is such a fun international mix. When we left the party we asked Claire if she had fun at the party and she replied "Yes, I did! Even though we didn't have cake". It seems as though a party to a 3 year old is synonymous with birthday cake! We explained that not all parties are for birthdays and there isn't always cake!
Claire getting ready to dive into her eclair. Oh this child loves chocolate. She thought that was so neat that it was called and eclair and thought we should each get an "edaddy", "emommy" and "eford".
This is my transportation around town (except for the occassional taxi). Thank you Mr. Phil and Mr. Ted whoever you are for inventing this stroller. I literally do not know how I would get around without it. It is amazingly, wonderfully fantastic - Rhett even agrees. Apparently Phil and Ted (and probably their wives and children) had attempted international travel with children before because this buggy was made for what we are doing. Believe it or not I can even fit my groceries in the basket. I should probably take a picture of that too - poor Ford tends to get buried in bags occassionally.

Here are the kids at the party last night with their friend (and baby sitter) Luella from Canada and Claire's new best friend from Ireland, Sarah. Believe it or not we managed to keep either one of them from falling (or jumping) into the pool! Claire's new responsiblity is holding the money in the taxi and giving it to the driver when we get out. When we got out of the cab last night coming home from the party she handed the driver the money and as she was getting out of the cab said "Gracias for the ride". That may be one of my favorite Claire quotes ever. She was so cool and casual about it. Hilarious.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This week at school

I think I did a pretty sub par job of describing exactly what Rhett is studying and doing here in Peru so I stole his syllabus and thought I would enlighten you as to what his week looks like . . .


Malaria diagnosis workshop, visit to primary care clinic

leprosy, maternal child health, pneumonia in the tropics, childhood vaccinations in limited resource settings, anthrax, plague, infection & cancer in the tropics, streptococcal infection, treatment controversies in neurocysticercosis, Buruli ulcer, CPC and cholera.

As a bonus this week on Saturday morning there will be a parasitology tutorial!

Fun stuff!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Anyone an AP Physics teacher?

As we anxiously think and dream about our new home in Africa we picture our new life, home, friends and community there. Part of that community will be Rift Valley Academy which is on "upper station" (where as we will live on "lower station" where the hospital is located). This is an amazing place that ministers to the children of missionaries serving all over Africa. Obviously, I don't have first hand knowledge of the school but I do feel a connection there since it is where Claire will start kindergarten and it will be a great place for me to be involved in ministry while we are in Kijabe. Here is a YouTube video that profiles the school and tells you a little about it and here is the website. Anyway, I read lots of blogs from people who live at Kijabe, work at RVA and whose kids go to RVA so I have a sense of the ministry there.

One of those families is one of my favorite blogs called Paradox Uganda (which I highly recommend you read!). They mentioned on their blog today the need for a physics teacher at RVA next year (their son attends the school and he and some friends would like to take AP physics). I know there are many, many open positons at the school so I'm just throwing this out there hoping to plant some seeds. If you are a teacher of any kind (or might be able to serve in any other capacity at the school such as dorm parents), have a desire to serve God and support mission efforts and fulfilment of the great commission then I urge you to pray about it and consider making a commitment to come minister at RVA.

I'm not in the business of making big appeals for financial or personnel support for our ministry or any other but I do want to make others aware of how they might be able to be involved in the big picture. I think some people may think of "missons" as being house to house evangelism, church planting or medical efforts. There are a lot of other neat opportunities like this out there! My prayer is that God will raise people and families up to go and fill these positions and - just as importantly - others who will provide the means for them to go.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Date Night

Several of the very nice people in Rhett's course have offered to babysit for us and on Saturday night we decided to take one of them up on their offer and go out on a date. Rhett made reservations at one of the nicest restaurants in the city, Astrid y Gaston, and we looked forward to some quiet time together for a few hours. I haven't had more than a few minutes to myself in the shower (and not even then most of the time) and Rhett and I have had even fewer minutes for just the two of us since we got here so this was going to be big treat.
I got dressed in a cute dress (thanks to my sister in law Tish for the cutest maternity wardrobe in this hemisphere) and actually did not wear flip flops for the first time since we got here! We then walked across the street where Rhett bought me the beautiful calla lily bouquet pictured above (for about $2!). We made our way to the Miraflores circle area and walked around for a while talking before going to the restaurant.
The ambiance in the restaurant was just fantastic. I was hoping there would be some pictures on their website so I could share them since I forgot my camera (I didn't really want to be all touristy snapping pictures all around a nice place anyway but it would be nice to have a picture of us at some point). Anyway, it was really modern but set in a an old building which gave it an even cooler feeling. The food was amazing . . . we started out with some various breads and crackers that were served with two different sauces and some butter. One sauce was kind of spicy in a good way and the other one was sort of a pesto sauce that had a flavor that my taste buds have never quite experienced before. It was great. Don't you love that? You kind of think you've tasted all the tastes out there then all of a sudden out of nowhere there is a completely different taste! What fun!
It took forever for us to read the menu because it was all in Spanish and our waiter didn't speak English. Obviously we could make out the main words and some that I would prefer to avoid like rabbit, duck and a few others. Rhett wanted to try ceviche so his decision was pretty easy since he could just choose from that section. I was a little more deliberate (and didn't want to go the ceviche route since I'm preggo) but I didn't want to NOT like what I got at this nice place! I finally saw what I thought looked good - jumbo shrimp and swordfish (I was concerned that swordfish was on the preggo "no" list but couldn't recall at the moment - I only ate half and gave the rest to Rhett just in case :) Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself . . . we decided to go with a traditional Peruvian appetizer (when in Rome, right?) called cuy also known as guinea pig! Luckily skewered rodents didn't arrive at our table but rather it was served in small strips that were braised. Then you took a small blue crepe added a sweet sauce and some shredded vegetables and a piece of cuy rolled up like a burrito and there you go! It was actually very, very good. The one word I used to describe it was "rich" and no it did not taste like chicken. So if you ever get a chance to try cuy go for it you might really like it.
Rhett sipped on a Pisco sour while we waited for our dinners to arrive. I think Rhett was glad he tried the ceviche but isn't a huge fan. Mine was out of this world good. The jumbo shrimp where so big I had to but them in 4 piece to eat each one. The flavors were all new and wonderful and I enjoyed it so much. We didn't even have room for dessert (I think the guinea pig filled us up) but they gave us each a glazed gooseberry (which was awesome - who knew gooseberries were so good?) and a chocolate truffle which was just enough.
What a wonderful evening. We had great food, great conversation and enjoyed some of Lima that we haven't been able to yet. We are certainly going to take up everyone on their babysitting offers. Did I mention that our culinary experience at Astrid y Gaston set us back about what a night at Outback Steakhouse might at home? Now that is a sweet meal!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Preparing for Little Baby from afar

When we get home from Peru I will be about 35 weeks pregnant with this Little Baby and will jump right into the "final countdown" before meeting this little person (and finding out what kind of plumbing he/she has!). I think about my preparations for my other two babies . . . the constant reading of books, buying furniture, clothes, research on the internet . . . I was just saturated with anything and everything having to do with our little Prince or Princess. Now here am with number 3 and feeling a little bit out of the loop. I have lots of boy stuff and girl stuff so I'm pretty good in that department. I've kind of well versed in pregnancy and childbirth at this point. I'm not even going to the OB for the next 9 weeks. It's pretty easy actually. There isn't less anticipation on my part it is just different. I'm completely calm (especially considering the crazy life circumstances that are surrounding the birth of this baby) but somehow I don't want this baby to have any less than the anxious frenzy that surrounded my other two babies. Having my first baby, obviously, came with the normal fears and unknowns. Then going from one to two seemed like a big transition beforehand too. Now going from two to three doesn't really seem as life altering. Perhaps that is why I feel more peaceful about welcoming the newest member of our family.
There are lots of other unknowns surrounding the birthday of this baby . . . will our house sell beforehand? Will I be preparing for a move? Will I be trying to show our house potential buyers days after coming home from the hospital?And more pressing things like Can we really get three car seats secure across the backseat of my car? Where will this baby sleep? We are going to keep Ford in a crib until we get to Kenya and my babies haven't even seen the inside of their "big" crib until they were about 4-6 months old anyway. This baby will find a moses basket home for the first little while but then we needed an intermediate option for when he/she outgrows the moses basket. I just didn't feel good about a packnplay being a semi-permanent sleeping option so I decided to get a cradle. It's funny because I really wanted to get one for Claire before she was born but never did and now I'm getting one! There is just something about the process preparing a special place in your home for a new baby. Maybe it is just part of the nesting and mothering process but I feel lke it is essential regardless of what that might mean to each individual. So I'm excited to share the special place that I am preparing for our new baby . . .

This is actually a virtual view of it (taken from pictures from eBay) and not the actual cradle but you get the idea. Don't you love it? Imagine a pink, green or mabye even red monogram on that pillow. So sweet and fun. I'm so excited!

For all of you Birmingham people do you know about the My Little Lollipop consignment sale coming up? I'm so jealous that I can't be there to attend this sale. It is not like most of the "other" sales out there that end up being glorified garage sales (both for the sellers and the buyers). This sale is for nice, upscale clothing and yes they have a list of brands they will not accept. It was so nice to consign some things and actually be able to price them at good prices and not garage sale prices. I personally don't go to consignment sales to buy play clothes. I can buy play clothes at Target or Walmart for next to nothing. In my experience those "play clothes" are really desingned to be worn past one kid (MAYBE two) so I'd rather just go buy those new. But upscale boutique or trunk show clothing is made to be heirloom and it is what you need to look for at resale outlets. I was frustrated looking through all of the junk and stained clothes to find an occassional jem. This sale is for people just like me apparently and when I went in the fall I walked away very happy with the amount of money I made on the items I consigned as well as what I bought. There is even overstock from companies like Castles and Crowns which is fun. So if you are in town for this sale don't miss it. They are doing summer and winter clothes and it seems to have grown since the venue is much bigger than last time. Go, have a great time and think of me while you are scooping up your bargains.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I hear it's kind of chilly at home . . .

. . . not so much here!
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Some of you may actually be interested in what Rhett is doing while we are here in Peru! Some background . . . he is attended the Gorgas Course in Tropical Medicine. It is an annual course put on by UAB (where he is doing his Infectious Disease Fellowship). It is really neat because unlike a lot of tropical medicine courses this one is actually taught in the tropics. At the conclusion of the course he will be able to sit for an exam and become "certified" in tropical medicine - woo hoo! This is such a fantastic opportunity for him to really spend time focusing on the diseases that he will be spending a lot of time caring for the next two years in Kenya and really for the rest of his life/career. We are really thankful for this opportunity. It has been no small feat to pull this off. The financial commitment alone is probably enough to prevent a lot of people from doing something like this. But God has provided for us and we see this as an investment in the future of our family, Rhett's career and most importantly to the lives of the people we will reach because of this training. So - absolutely worth it.

The course itself is very international as far as participants. Everyone is from all over the world which is really fun and interesting. There is a contingent from the UK, Australia, Canada and more far off places like Afghanistan. There are lots of different life experiences represented. It is really encouraging to see so many people who are commited to making difference in the lives of people who are by and large forgotten or ignored (those in developing countries). I'm realizing that I should have probably glanced at Rhett's course syllabus before I did this post to give more details about what he is actually studying for those interested so I'm kind winging it here! His days are full of lectures (about 4 1/2 hours) combined with another couple hours of rounds and lab (as in identifying things with a microscope kind of a lab). He puts in another couple hours of studying at night so his days are pretty full. He has weekly quizzes (ha!) that help keep them on track for the certification exam at the end. I asked him if his teacher was going to ask him to take out his paper and number from 1-10 for his quiz (at least I thought it was funny).

Claire thinks it is pretty neat that Daddy is going to school. This morning she said "Daddy goes to school in Peru and I go to school in Birmingham!" and yesterday she asked me if Daddy had a bed at school so he could take a nap. When he got home she asked "Daddy did you take a nap today at school?" and when he told her no she looked very concerned, tilted her little head and said "Well, then what did you do during naptime?"

Monday, February 02, 2009

Our weekend

We were happy to spend a weekend the way that I guess most families spend weekends . . . together as a family! I was in desperate need of some more orientation and help getting around the city so we spent Saturday morning running a few errands, helping me feel more comfortable taking taxis and just having fun together. We only have two towels in our apartment and the washing and line drying was making it rather difficult to manage so we went to a department store and bought a few more to help with that situation. Getting around is my biggest challenge - as I knew it would be. It's difficult enough getting around the US in my own car with two little ones while pregnant and everyone speaking English so it is that much more difficult spending a lot of time on foot in a big city where no one understands me. Rhett wanted me to be more comfortable taking taxis so I didn't feel so tied to our apartment and neighborhood. It is quite cheap to take the taxis all over town. I feel better about it today but I feel like when Rhett is with me we get better prices and I don't like feeling like I'm being taking advantage of (even if it is $0.50). The picture above was taken at a great restaurant called El Pez Amigo here in Miraflores. I'm fairly certain that I ordered the lobster and rice but I ended up with shrimp and rice which while quite delicious wasn't lobster. I'll try again another time . . .
I find this quite funny - we brought 49.5 lbs (just under the 50lb limit) of books and various toys with us but this is how our kids spent the weekend - playing "taxi" and "airplane" in our entertainment center! The taxi is apparently taking them to the park and the airplane is taking them to Kenya. I love seeing Claire and Ford playing together. As an only child it looks like so much fun to have a sibling and I'm so happy for them and their special relationship. In case you are wondering, yes, that is a pink paci Ford has. They are his favorite. They are hot pink and say "Claire" on them but he loves them. We only use them at home or in the car to protect his tough guy reputation!
I had Claire's hair cut in a precious little bob right before we left on our trip. It required a little maintenance (a squirt of mousse and quick blow dry) but it was so cute. Well, as soon as we got south of the Equator her hair kinked right up curlier than it ever has been! It is really cute and is so low maintenace that I don't even really brush it. I guess that is what a little humidity can do!
Have I mentioned how much I love little boys in camo? Oh my, take my heart and smash it on the floor!

Thanks again for all of your prayers . . . here is an update.

1. I am taking Spanish classes two nights a week with a group of people from Rhett's course. This will hopefully help me with language enough to get around a little more comfortably and give me an outlet to socialize a little bit. I'm thankful for this opportunity and that it is only costing about $5 a lesson.

2. Ford is settling in and sleeping well. The little guy just needed some extra reassurance since his whole world has been turned upside down in the last few weeks. After spending a few nights snuggled in tightly between Mommy and Daddy in our double bed he is back to sleeping in his crib but does require someone to hang out in there with him until he falls asleep which sometimes is 5 minutes and sometimes is an hour ;) Overall both of them are thriving in this environment and really enjoying having their Daddy around quite a bit more than he is in Birmingham.


1. I've had a tough first week getting settled in and learning how to get around. I'm quite intimidated with my lackluster 10th grade Spanish (I got a C and it shows). Hopefully, my language classes will help me with this and by the end of our time here I hope to be comfortable. Please pray that I will gain confidence and feel more comfortable getting around.

2. Continued health and safety for our family. You might have heard about the earthquake that struck here just a little while ago. What I saw on the internet said it was a magnitude 5.8 and the epicenter was located about 100 miles from here. Quite unsettling to be on the 13th floor of a high rise with two small kids and the building start shaking. I was a little rattled but feeling more calm now that everything seems to be moving back at a normal pace outside. I haven't heard any reports of damage or injuries. Please just pray for protection for our family from any type of harm and wisdom, clarity and discernment in these types of situations.
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