Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Vacation Part I: Kansas

After traveling all day Thursday (and the kids were great!), we left Jer with the grandparents and woke up very early Friday morning to fly to Wichita, Kansas.

Here's an overview in pictures (there are more pictures in the album below):

Leah and Regan met us at the airport; then we waited for Erin and her newborn

There we are in the back; Erin, baby, and our family all stayed together with a wonderful family that Leah knew

Wedding rehearsal

The proud groom

The beautiful bride

Reading scripture

D.R. Group

Taylor Group

Eating with friends we met in the D.R.
For even more pictures, see our online album here:

Kansas Visit

Jeremiah's Jingle Bells Video

Here it is. He's not actually singing (though he'll attempt to sing Jingle Bells on his own or with us). Each child has a bell in each hand and a paper cut-out bell that they're wearing over their shirts. Unfortunately, the video missed the very end when the audience applauded; Jeremiah had a huge smile and looked so proud of himself. It also missed the children bow after that.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back to normal life- almost

The past few weeks has been a whirlwind (have you noticed it from my absence of posts?). The week or two before vacation was filled with Christmas events, Jeremiah's Christmas program, Christmas caroling, packing, etc. And then our vacation was very full, but also lots of fun. I have videos and pictures I've been meaning to post, but, alas, blogging has not been my priority. So, I hope to post those pictures and videos soon. And now I should get back to supper before the boys come back from their walk to fetch a free squash.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Our house, before and after

I finally have some before/after pictures of the new house. I'll post them in parts (as I haven't taken all the "after" pictures yet. For now, we have pictures of our kitcha-dina-living room. A note on colors- all the walls that are painted in the kitcha-dina-living room were originally yellow. I wanted sage and cranberry, but you can't find those colors here (unless we wanted to spend lots of money to have them mix it and hope it turned out well. Which we didn't. Especially because we would get free paint otherwise. So, I chose to go with an avacadoy-sage green and a country rose. We've learned to do a lot of "making-do" living here!
Now for the "Before" pictures:

View from the back of the house to the front door

View to the kitchen (there's not a lot of cabinet space, so we have a lot on shelves

View of the kitchen

View from the door towards the living room (yes, it's a very small house)
Now for the "After" pictures (I took them at different times, so don't think I have up Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations at the same time!)

We put a dresser against the wall to have drawers in the kitchen; both it and our deep freeze (between dresser and door) act as extra counter space. :) Our table just fits between the counter and our large handmade shelf.

Looking into our bedroom and the bathroom

View of the kitchen with spice rack (on far wall next to the stove)

Check out my full-size stove!!! And we plan to change out the faucet as it's very low and hard to use (and I prefer the type of kitchen sink with a lever to bump on when my hands are raw-meaty instead of turning the knobs)We added a lot of decor to the living area
Shelves for decor, books, and DVDs (and a messy computer desk...)

The carpet helps to "set apart" the are as the living room (and Chiste likes to sleep on it) This table we actually bought for a Jer-play table, but since we don't have room, we turned our cheap-white coffee table into a shelf in the bedroom closet, and use this as our coffee table
So there you have it, more pics to come later!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Peterson Photo Albums: November

Here's what we've been doing lately, in pictures. Each picture below links to a web album in picasa containing many more pictures (it takes me less time to upload pictures to picasa than to put them on the blog).

Trip to Santo Domingo:
In an attempt to amuse myself, I took pictures of the drive home (though I missed the "cashew and jelly" zone, as well as the "giant wooden spoon" zone. Near the end we have pictures of driving into Jarabacoa.


Dedication/Picnic/Visit to La Arca:

Two Sundays ago we had Timmy dedicated at our church down in town. Afterward, we went on a picnic along with Brian, a fellow Gerig-ite from Taylor. Then we took him back to la Arca, where he is living (he is serving with Kids Alive) and we visited with friends there.


Thanksgiving Day/Day After:

We had a wonderful thanksgiving day filled with friends, food, and fun. :) The highlights:
-Daniel smoked the turkey and built a fence while I cooked
-Friends came and brought wonderful food
-We celebrated Wendi's birthday
-We relaxed
-The next day I took the boys swimming in the pool here on campus, along with some friends


Random pics of the boys:
And, of course, here are some pics of the boys. These include:
-Jer's first time trimming a Christmas tree
-My little teddy bear


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Timmy Smiling video

Here's a video of Timmy smiling and Jeremiah doing lots of talking. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Preparations

Tomorrow we have our first event at our new house. Other E.C. staff will celebrate Thanksgiving with us for a total of 8 adults and 3 children (plus Timmy). Last year we had around 50, but 11 is a good number for the size of our new house. :)

Others are bringing dishes, but here's what's cooking at our house:

-Turkey- Daniel's smoking the bird. He's currently chopping down some fruit branches to use and has the turkey all prepped with butter and fresh rosemary.

-Gravy- I'm making two gravies- one out of turkey broth (using the giblets), and one from the drippings (this will be very smokey and overpower whatever it is on, so the other gravy will be our main gravy) I have the veggies chopped and ready to use for the turkey broth tomorrow.

-Pies- I made two pies today, a "pumpkin" pie (from auyama, a squash very similar to pumpkin) and a honey oatmeal pie (with coconut and raisins). I found the recipe here.

-Stuffing- the bread and veggies are cut and ready to go in. I'm making a crock pot stuffing this year.

-Bread- I'm making "bubble bread." I'll make the dough in the bread machine, and then go from there.

I'm hoping that Jeremiah will be fever-less tomorrow. Today he "only" spiked in the high 102s taken under his arm (much better than yesterday!). And his cough sounded less "seal-like" today.

So, what are you all doing/making for Thanksgiving this year?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Boys Update

It's about time I wrote a boys update, seeing as Timmy is 3 months old today!
Here's a little about each boy, including a photo and videos. I haven't posted videos for a year, I think, since we received our new camera (we needed to convert all the videos first).

Timmy: The first few weeks Timmy just slept and ate. But at about 3 weeks old we began having "nursing issues." He screamed most of the time while nursing, had tummy trouble, spat up large amounts of milk, and rarely slept for more than 3 hr stretches. I finally began feeding him on one side only for 2 feedings in a row (about 4 hr stretches). By two months he was doing so much better, and I am now back to one side each feeding. He is now a happy, content boy and wakes up once each night (generally). I'm hoping he doesn't suddenly revert like Jer did!

Favorite activities- He is very smiley. He especially smiles when his cheeks are stroked. He loves massages and bath time. He enjoys chewing on or sucking his hands, or folding them in his lap.

Recent development- He giggles some and I believe he's starting to teethe. He bites me, his hands, or anything else he can get into his mouth. Jer started to teethe about this time too, but the teeth didn't come in for a long, long time. We'll see what this little guy does.

(Having difficulty with the Timmy smiling video; I'll get it up when I can!)

Jeremiah has transitioned well into being a big brother and into the new house. He loves his little brother, continues to be a great helper, and calls Timmy "Timoteo" (Timothy in Spanish). He rarely naps anymore, but still takes his "quiet time" each afternoon (he is napping right now, but that's because he's sick). He is very popular here, especially with the teenage girls.

Favorite activities- Jeremiah loves going to school. He also enjoys singing the ABCs and "reading."He likes helping mommy and daddy, being silly, and eating. His favorite food is huevos (eggs). I think he would eat them at every meal if he could. He also likes fruit. There's rarely a food he doesn't like, including eggplant and zucchini!

Recent Development- He's learned a lot since being in preschool. Not only does he know lots of Spanish and English, he recognizes several shapes, all the letters, and some numbers. He knows the main sounds of the letters A-I (but has difficulty pronouncing the C and G sounds). He says the alphabet, but misses letters here and there. He can count to ten in English and recognizes several colors. He uses "one" and "two" in context (counts how many things there are). He has also progressed from calling himself "Iah" to "Jeremiah." Apparently he's also learned to cover his mouth when he coughs and raise his hand. The other evening at dinner I asked him a question (not a yes or no question). He raised his hand. I humored him and called on him and he promptly answered "Yes." Whenever we read a psalm in the morning and ask questions, he answers with "Obey." I guess that's a good answer, even if it doesn't always apply. :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And the car saga continues...

Have I mentioned I hate driving? Honestly, I love this country. But I do not like driving here.
I long for the easy, pleasant driving of a long stretch of road through Indiana cornfields. Or even Chicago driving; that seems like a piece of cake to me now. But, alas, if we're going to live on a beautiful tropical island on a mountain, we have to take the stresses that come with it.

Today was my first time driving off campus since the motorcycle accident. I was a little nervous, but determined to make the best of it. Driving through town to pick up the kids always increases my stress level, and the addition of the recent accident made me even more tense. However, everything was going well. Until I passed the police station and the police pulled me over. That did it. My stress level maxed out and I broke down (into tears that is). I felt stupid for crying, which just made it worse, of course. The policeman kept assuring me I wasn't getting a ticket, they wanted to help me, and not to cry. That didn't help either. (I'd already figured out by this point that our registration sticker had expired). And so I sat in the hot sun in the car and tried to figure out what to do, as it became apparent they weren't going to let me go anywhere.

In my overwhelmed-ness I couldn't remember E.C.'s phone number, and was in no state to converse in Spanish. So I called JCS, told them I was having problems (since I'd be late to pick up the kids) and asked for E.C.'s phone number. Then I called Daniel and handed the phone to the policeman for Daniel to deal with the Spanish. They said I could go pick up the kids, but Daniel would have to buy the sticker today.

Apparently the sticker's expired yesterday (they do not put an date on the sticker itself). The school let all the staff know that this was coming a few months ago. However, we weren't on staff a few months ago. And JCS probably just did it this past month (and we were gone by then). So we kind-of missed that announcement. As apparently did other people, because I was not the only one being pulled over.

I felt silly for crying over such a small thing- until I found out later that they could have impounded my car if they had wanted.

Sigh. I really just want an uneventful trip when I go to pick up the kids!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What's been keeping us busy...

Here's a quick run-down on what we've been doing lately:

1) Baking- After reading the many baking posts on Beth's blog and seeing all the pictures of delicious foods, I finally felt motivated to get with it and bake some of the foods on my list. As a result, on Monday I had a baking day and made granola, granola bars, 2 pizzas and 18 hot pockets (like mini calzones; I made 6 of each type: pizza, broccoli and cheese, and cheese and ham). I would have taken pictures, but I couldn't find the camera just then.

2) Organizing la casa- It's coming together little-by-little. Furniture is in place, we've unpacked all the boxes (that aren't used for storage), we've put up the long-term decor, and I decorated the house for fall. Once we hang the curtains, I'll take the "after" pictures. :)

3) Storage- We need to use creativity to fit into this house! Therefor, we've put the extra dressers, plastic bins and shelf units, Jer's bunk bed, and the porch to good use. Yesterday Daniel (he had Friday off because he had training on Monday, his normal day off) bought the supplies and built this for more storage. Jeremiah helped him in the afternoon, and Daniel even allowed me to pound a few nails (and help in setting on the roof). The "outhouse" (as I lovingly call it) is 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 4 feet deep.

4) Working on Christmas gifts- I ordered yarn to crochet some gifts this year, and it came last mailing day. I made Jeremiah a helmet hat and slippers this week, and started on a hooded sweater for Timmy (it will be big, but I know he will grow into it).

I hope to post an update on the boys sometime soon that includes pictures and video (I know it's been a while). If I haven't, bug me about it. I'm sure the grandparents are longing to see photos of the boys!

The storage shed (no door and shelves yet)

Jer's Christmas gift

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yet another reason to dislike driving in the D.R.

Driving here scares me. I'm tense the entire time I'm behind the wheel. Cars and motorcycles drive in the left lane to turn left; motorcycles often pass you on the left as you're attempting to turn left; stoplight often are not working, or they don't bother replacing a light. But you never know which it is. So, if the light is out it could really be out, or it could mean it's a green light that hasn't been replaced. Or a red. You just have to guess.
Unfortunately, in spite of my dislike of driving here, I have to drive fairly often as I pick up the kids from preschool each day (we carpool). Today on my way to pick them up I received another reason to add to my list of reasons to dislike driving.
While on my way out of the big main gate, a woman (who works there doing cleaning/cooking, etc.) asked if I was going into town and said she was going to JCS. This worked out perfectly, as this was where I was going as well. As we talked, I discovered that she's the mother of Jeremiah's teacher. While driving along the main road towards town, I noticed one motorcycle passing another. Suddenly the motorcycles hit and one of them started sliding right towards me! I slammed on the brakes, but our car doesn't stop very quickly. Either way, it didn't matter because he was still moving towards me, and hit/slid right under my car. Thankfully, the driver of the motorcycle was okay (he stood up and was talking to the crowd that had gathered). He then went to the hospital. The other motorcyclist was long gone.
After seeing that the man was uninjured, I immediately thought about the car. Meanwhile, I realized I had left my cell phone back at E.C. The woman, however, had a cell phone and called E.C. right away. They sent down their driver to come pick us up and take us to JCS.
Upon looking at my car, the Dominicans present everything was fine. I had my doubts, however, as I vaguely remembered it had made a terrible noise before I turned it off. As soon as I turned the ignition, the noise began again. No, this car was definitely not going anywhere.
The driver from E.C. arrived, we locked up the car, and headed to JCS. Once there, I picked up the kids and we headed back to the car, where the director had driven with Daniel. They determined the radiator had a whole and was pushed up against the cooling fan. We would need to call our mechanic to come to the car and fix it, as it could not be driven (tow trucks, what are they?). So, as of now, the car is still sitting down there on the road, locked up, with the club on the steering-wheel.
In all of this, I was thankful that things were not worse. Praise the Lord that the man on the motorcycle was okay, that I was neither alone, nor with the kids (someone was watching Timmy for me), that even though I forgot my cell phone, the woman with me had one, and that E.C. took such good care of us!
Update: Daniel just called to tell me that the mechanic brought our car to his shop. Yay!!!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Our New House

Hi! Remember me? I've been absent for a bit, as we've been setting up our new house. I'm not putting up pictures of the new house quite yet, as I want it to be a little more "together," but I do have some pictures of the beautiful area around the house that I'd like to share. But first, a little about our house:

There are advantages and disadvantages to our new house. Most of the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. The disadvantages are:
-smaller house (1/2 the size)
-ants, ants, everywhere! And they bite!
-smaller fridge with the freezer inside the fridge. But we have a deep freeze, so it's not too big a deal

The advantages include:
-We live on campus, so I'm close to Daniel and other staff members. Daniel can visit me for lunch, or I can visit him. I can also participate in any evening events and still come home to put the boys to bed and Daniel can walk up later (on the 31st we had a fall festival and I got to square dance!)
-In spite of the above, we have more privacy than our last house. We're near the top of campus and mostly surrounded by trees. No cars or motorcycles driving by our house (the road is up a little hill and it only goes to our house, the house above us, and dead ends at the house just below and if front of us)
-We're very taken care of (if there are problems with water, electricity, internet, etc., they fix the problems!)
-A REAL OVEN!!! I haven't baked in an oven that holds more than 1 cookie sheet (until we stuck in another grate, but it didn't work very well) in over 4 years!!!
-We have one glass window (and the others are the typical Dominican slated windows). But a glass window, what a luxury!!!
-Our funny-looking neighbor, Monica, across from us. She likes to yell "hi" to us (in her own language) and swing from trees. Did I mention she's a monkey?
-The beautiful nature around us. The view from our porch is amazing, and we have a little stream that trickles behind us. We also have a banana tree in our backyard and a guava tree in the front (I used the almost over-ripe guavas to make a yummy dessert).
Okay, and now for the pics!!

Since it takes less time to upload pics to my Picasa web albums, and our connection isn't very good, I'll link to the album (there are some bonus pics of Jer and Timmy).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Moving Adventures and two wonderful boys!

This week- especially these past two days- have been full of packing. Yesterday Jeremiah woke up with a bad cough, so we kept him home; today was the end of a quarter, so there was no school. So, Jer's been with me all day for my super packing days.
Today was an extra stressful day. I was packing all morning and feeling weak and exhausted. I had a few loads of laundry to put away, as well as a few to do and hang. I'd tried to carry Timmy in the carrier, but my back was aching and it was difficult to do any packing/moving. As a result, he was in his baby seat most of the day.
The plan for the day was to meet Daniel at work for lunch with a load of boxes in the car, then drive up to the house, unload, do some unpacking, etc. However, due to my tiredness/dizziness/not-thinking, etc. I locked the keys in the car. So, when Daniel had lunch break he borrowed a dirt bike, unlocked the vehicle, and I drove the car while he biked back up. As a result, we didn't end up eating lunch until 1:30, but Jeremiah never complained and was such a wonderful boy all morning! Timmy only fussed in his baby seat when he was hungry; as soon as he was fed and/or changed, he was content again.
After lunch I drove the car up to the house. Jeremiah was excited and immediately went to "his room." I had brought sheets and a pillow (and a box of books), and I put them on his new bunk bed, gave him the books, and left him for his quiet time. He happily complied and after about 1/2 an hour had fallen asleep. Meanwhile, I decided to take a break and relax, at which point Timmy started fussing. so I walked around the house (the outside, there's not much walking room inside) while holding him, enjoying the break of packing/unpacking while snuggling my sweet baby.
All in all, in spite of an exhausting day, the boys were amazingly wonderful, for which I am so very thankful!
More packing and moving tomorrow; we'll spend all Sunday and Sunday night there, and then Monday is the "big moving day" when the majority of our stuff will go. It's coming along and I can't wait to be all moved in!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Timmy Smiles, Monkey boys, and other random pictures

Timmy Smiles!

Jeremiah showing off his smile

Timmy smiling up at his big brother

Matching Monkey PJs

Timmy's new Moses basket

Bath time!

Jeremiah giving Timmy his book

Riding in a wagon with puppies- every little boy's dream :)

Jeremiah's bed

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Urgent Prayer Request and Need: Please Read

Some friends of ours, Reuben and Amanda, have an urgent need. They live here in the Dominican Republic (she is American) and recently gave birth to a little boy (sometime in June or July) with what they believe is Holt-Oram syndrome (a syndrome that affects the hand/arms and often the heart). He has not been officially diagnosed because the doctors here "aren't too sure," but they have an appointment for him on December 9th in Erie, PN, to determine if he will qualify for a free surgery to fix his hands and arm. However, they have no money for the plane ticket or the costs of transportation in the States, fees for leaving/entering the country, etc.

So please pray:

-That the doctor's would be able to diagnose him and that he will qualify for the operation.
-That they will obtain his passport before they need to travel.
-That they will have sufficient funds to cover all the costs of travel, staying in the States, etc.
-That God would bring peace to Reuben and Amanda, as well as their 1 1/2 yr old daughter, especially as it is difficult to deal with medical issues in a developing county.

Please join us in praying for this sweet little boy! And if you have the desire and ability to help them out financially, please let me know and I'll send you their information. Thank you!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Menu Plan

So it was recently brought to my attention that I have failed to update my menu plan since, oh.... last New Years (yikes!). I'd like to blame it on being pregnant and having a baby.
Anyway, do not worry- we have been eating since then, even though I have not put up the menu until now. The latest new dish we've tried was gundules con coco (pigeon peas with coconut milk) over rice. It was super yummy! Jeremiah had seconds... and maybe even thirds.
Our new freezer is also full, which will be helpful while we're moving (2 more weeks) so I won't need to worry about cooking (but it will mean transporting a very heavy freezer).
My binder or recipes that are easy and frugal is growing! I print out the recipes and put them in plastic sleeves so they won't get icky while I'm cooking/baking. If you love homemade, frugal-minded recipes, check out these websites I use often:
Hillbilly Housewives
$5 Dinners

And, on the food note, in case any one was wondering, this is the last thing I ate before going into labor...

A waffle sundae made with chocolate waffles, bananas, vanilla ice-cream , chocolate chips, and home-made caramel sauce. No wonder Timmy didn't want to come out, he was enjoying the food inside!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Meet the Big Brother!

Jeremiah loves Timmy! He gives him kisses and "snuggles" before bed (and other times), tries to share things with him (stickers, juice- by attempting to pour it on him, and bread- mommy had to nix this one and the juice), and makes sure he has a blanket (we have to watch him so he doesn't put it on Timmy's head). Here are some pics of the big brother on duty. :)

Jeremiah brought his chair over by Timmy so he could look after his little brother

All smiles!

Taking care of Timmy

Other Random Pictures of the Boys:

Jeremiah is our "drink" boy; he has juice, milk, and water (he likes to put coasters out on the coffee table, line them up, and put his drinks on top. And of course everyone has to have a coaster for their drink and he insists on putting them all away before he goes to bed)

Dressed all in blue!

Here are some pics from Daniel's last day at JCS:

The staff had a surprise party for him. Here's the yummy cake:

Jeremiah enjoyed an icing flower (he didn't eat the wire)

One last pic in Daddy's office

And guess who slept through the whole thing?