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).