Pop and Gram are here!

Well, they made it. I guess I have been a little late in posting, but we have been enjoying ourselves. My dad had not seen us in over a year; Mom was here for the birth of Maggie. I love Skype. Ana didn’t hesitate to run to her Pop’s arms when they arrived. It was such a sweet reunion. My dad is a big, burly man, but it doesn’t take much to bring tears to his eyes–especially seeing his grandgirls (one for the very first time). We have just relaxed and spent quality time together. Ana has been talking about going to the park with Pop and Gram for about 6 months now. That is where we went today. Dad has attended one of our library Bible studies, and tonight the whole family will attend the Wednesday night study. Our big plan is to hangout. Just simply that. I will post a slideshow for family to see at the end of their stay. Here are a few moments captured so far…

Pop and AG


Maggie meets Pop


Maggie is so much bigger. Gram is really good at getting a smile out of her.


Gram is a GREAT help at the park.


Group shot


Pop and Gram are here!

First MK Slumber Party

(“MK” stands for “missionary kid” and not Maggie Kate in this context.)

Shaye’s new little sister arrived today (more details to come on the Smith family site). Kyle and Larissa dropped her with us in the wee hours of the morning, and she has been part of the McKinzie family all day… and tonight. First of all, I have a new respect for mothers with twins. Second, the girls did very well (except for their usual bickering). Third, they were so cute tonight. They got ready for bed together, and then just got ridiculously giddy with each other–like a girls’ slumber party. So I couldn’t resist. They are in separate beds (Shaye is on her bunkbed matress), but Shaye is “sleeping over.” This is their very first slumber party and I had to document with pictures. After the pictures, the girls said a joint prayer and each picked one song to sing. (Shaye: We Shall Assemble; Ana: I am a Sheep) They really can be such sweet girls.


First MK Slumber Party

MK—6 months

Tomorrow Maggie turns 6 months old. That is hard to believe…

Thanks, Dori, for my totally rockin’ sunglasses (very important to have in Arequipa). I wore them for the first time today on a family outing. Can you tell I want to be like my big sis?


Other things going on…

1. When I am tired I rub my eyes or pull my hair around my ear. I also nussle whoever is holding me.

2. I have outgrown my Snuggly (good thing Gram is bringing my momma a new and improved sling).

3. I drool a ton. If you haven’t noticed, my mom can’t seem to remember to wipe my chin off before she takes my picture.

4. I take 3 naps a day. My morning nap is usually close to 3 hours (my mom thinks that is pretty awesome). On the other hand, I still like to get up around 5:30.

5. I hit the sack around 7, but if my parents keep me up I do well wherever I am. I attended the first Bible study at the new library location this week. The study began at 7 pm.

6. I am a huge hit with the Peruvians. I am pretty sure that I will have plenty of surrogate grandmothers when our time here is said and done.

7. My momma hates that I can’t learn to roll over yet because of my brace. I, on the other hand, am turning into quite the gymnast. Just look below at how well I do the splits. And I reach over and around me for my toys with the best of ’em.

8. I LOVE my activity block that I got for Christmas. My mom highly recommends it to others like me. It folds up, it is a toy in and of itself with different textures, tags, and things to pull on, and it converts to a block that holds my other toys–great to take to another house.

9. I don’t enjoy the written word to its fullest yet, but I love to look through and chew on a good board book.

10. I love my first baby doll that Memaw sent to me. I will sit up in my bed and coo and talk to her.

11. My sister can get me to laughing and we are like two giggle boxes.

12. I can’t wait to meet my Pop for the first time this coming week.

doing the splits and reading my book


lovin’ my activity block with total concentration


MK—6 months

My Birth Week

28 years old. Man that sounds old to me. Besides hosting Larissa’s baby shower, this is what else went on during my birth week…

1. I met Manuela’s granddaughter, Fio, for the first time. She brought her to work with her, and Ana had a blast having a playmate. I am convinced that they got every toy that Ana owns out of its place.

2. The second library was inaugurated. 2 down, 2 more to go.

3. I turned 28 on Friday! The Smith’s watched the girls for us after the inauguration so we could have time to eat dinner by ourselves. Greg took me to my favorite restaurant, Zig Zag. It was delicious, once again.

4. Greg and Kyle went out to Naranjal for the first Bible study. 22 were in attendance. I stayed home with the girls so I could go later in the afternoon…

5. …to Emilio’s family’s home. His uncle used to be a preacher but his church dwindled down. We were going to meet with them, converse and study the Bible. We were so excited about this meeting, but Emilio ended up having to work.

6. We ended up taking Ana to the park. In this past year, Ana’s love has gone from the trampoline, to the slides, and now to climbing. She did the monkey bars for the first time and LOVES it. She loves to climb.

7. I bought some fruit at our Sunday market on the way home to the park. THEY’RE BACK! Big plums and yummy peaches–I love the fresh produce here.


My Birth Week


The McKinzie family loves pizza. I finally attempted a homemade pizza recipe a month ago and tonight I got raving reviews from the one that matters to me in this house–Greg. If you have a Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, the recipe can be found under pizza. The crust is delicious, but it is the sauce that wins my family over. We don’t really go for the “just add some Italian seasoning to tomato sauce” version of pizza sauce. We really dig this recipe, and I easily doubled the sauce recipe so that making the calzones next week won’t be so time-consuming. I also like the calzone recipe because you don’t have to wait for the crust to double in size twice. I guess it will speak for itself, but if you are a pizza fan you should try this one out.

Pizza Crust

2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1 c warm water
2 Tb cooking oil

In a large mixing bowl combine 1 1/4 of the flour, yeast, and salt. Add water and oil. Beat with electric mixer (I used my dough hooks) on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes total). Divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Pizza Sauce

In a medium saucepan combine an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce; one 7 1/2 ounce can undrained tomatoes, cut up (use kichen shears); half- cup of chopped onions; 1 Tbs of dried basil; 1 tsp sugar; 1 tsp dried oregano; 2 cloves garlic, minced; and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Bring to a boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or till the onion is tender.


Transfer dough to prepared pan. With greased fingers, pat dough onto bottoms and halfway up sides. Spoon sauce and meat onto half of the circle to within one inch of the edge. Sprinkle with vegetables and cheese. Moisten edges of dough with water. Fold dough circles in half over filling. Seal edges by pressing with tines of a fork. Prick tops. Brush tops with milk and sprinke with parmesan cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven or till crusts are brown. Serves 6.

Before and After pictures:



Just Because

I am totally in love with my two girls. I definitely have days and moments where being a mom is the hardest thing I have ever done. I also have moments when I try to remember my life without the “hassle” of kids, but then there are days when naps go well, sweet faces wake up rested, and you just have to love ’em.

Ana is out of school for summer break so it has been an adjustment for me to have her home every morning. She really plays very well by herself. Just lately, she has taken such an interest in who made things. She asks me all the time, “Momma, who made this?” It is kind of like the after “Why” stage. She also loves to “help” me in the kitchen right now. I think I could just let her go to town with some flour, sugar, and measuring cups and she could be entertained for hours. I was very fortunate to have AG in school every morning so that I could do my shopping. Now that she is home, we are quite the “gringa” sight doing my shopping run. This morning, I had MK in the sling, my market tote, and AG hanging on to my sling strap. We took a taxi to the market, loaded up our produce (with an Ana potty stop in there) and walked over to the grocery store to buy our goods for the week. I really couldn’t ask for 2 better girls. They are so enjoyable and do very well in public. Besides my back killing me from that sling (my mom is bringing me an Ergo when she comes–can’t wait!), the market run with two kiddos is very pleasant.

Last night, we bought Ana shoes for the first time. Greg’s sister, Marci, has supplied Ana with all her cousins hand-me-downs (which has been awesome). But Ana is growing so much, and we finally ran out of shoes. I am always up first with Maggie. Ana will usually come in with her “I just woke up and I want some cereal” look 30 minutes later. This morning, I got a kick out of her coming to the family room with her brand new shoes on (tags still on). She was so excited to wear them. Aren’t they cute?


And they don’t get much sweeter than my little Maggie Kate. That harness has done nothing to stop her from loving life. She is such a pleasant baby–except when she gets her vaccinations. We went to get her shots today, but this picture captures her mood when we got back this afternoon. I am so eager to see what little personality she will have. I love her to pieces. I cannot believe that she is half a year old this month. Time really does fly. She is so precious.


Just Because

Larissa’s Baby Shower

We had a blast! Over 20 attended, and we did our best to make it a Peruvian baby shower. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Greg helped make a Peruvian Pop mix of 30 of the biggest hits from 2008 and 2009. I now have a favorite Peruvian Music Group: Grupo 5 (“Te Vas Te Vas Te Vas”).

2. A lot of our friends from our community came.

3. The food was a hit: chicken salad sandwiches, chips and guacamole, cheeseball and crackers, fruit and fruit dip, chocolate chocolate chip cookies, brownies, flower cookies, punch (chicha mixed with Sprite)

4. The games were so much fun: when guests signed in they guessed how many diapers Larissa would receive for the night, bottle races, LARISSA/KYLE acronym game, remember the baby items game, how big is Larissa’s tummy game. Prizes were packages of candy.

5. Larissa received over 400 diapers. Whew!

6. We danced the night away laughing and jumping around like giddy girls! Peruvians don’t have a party without some pump-up music and dancing. I learned that our living room is an awesome dance floor.

Thanks so much to Dori, Paty, and Coki for helping me out. Larissa, I cannot wait to meet Cora Elise!


Larissa’s Baby Shower

Not Slowing Down

It seems that I get into these “a week in review” kicks. Does it ever slow down? I told Greg that I thought this year would fly because of all that we seem to have going on. So far I am right. Come on furlough. 🙂

1. We started this past week by traveling out to Naranjal to celebrate their 5 year anniversary as a community and the drinking of their first water! We share so much in their joy because Manuela is part of this community. Here she is drinking her first glass after the ribbon-cutting that they allowed Greg and Kyle to cut. (We were their honored guests.)


2. I never posted our “after” pictures of the rabbits. Ana still has no clue (that chicken sure was good), and Manuela informed us that we waited too late to eat them. “There is nothing like a young, tender groundhog (that comment is for my side of the family).” 🙂 Greg found some recipes online and combined them. It really was a yummy concoction, but I won’t say that rabbit is my favorite meat in the world. We wanted to honor Manuela, and I feel like we did.


3. After the day of the rabbit eating, we headed to Lima to pick up Ana’s visa. We are now all legal residents of Peru! We appreciate the Thompson Family (members of the Lima mission team) so very much. They are quick to extend their hospitality and we always enjoy our visit with them. They have 2 children in very close proximity to Ana and Maggie’s age. We enjoyed the “usual” as I like to call it–eating at Chili’s, a trip to the big mall, StarBucks visitS, and Papa John’s Pizza. We also visited with some of the other Lima members (thanks Wes and Mark) at a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican taco place–those tacos are the best we have had in quite some time. Thanks again to the Thompsons for putting up with us. We look forward to your family coming to Arequipa whenever that day comes. Below is a picture of Justin working with the 2-year-olds (his daughter and Ana) on a puzzle and a picture of the Peruanos (Corban was born in Lima soon after Maggie).


4. Lima was a nice get-away. Greg and I had not been outside of Arequipa in quite some time. We returned to our wonderful weather in Arequipa (Lima was so hot and muggy compared to here) and got into the swing of things. Friday evening I planned the first kids library event for the year. We discussed cooperation and I planned an activity for the end that I feel was a hit–wheelbarrow racing. The kids are on summer break, and I plan on doing more outside activities with them. After our racing I am convinced that it will be a hit. There were 9 kids that showed up which left one without a partner. Let’s just say my abs are sore from participating. I was the crazy competitive gringa in the neighborhood whose partner couldn’t hold her legs up! I think I have found a new exercise outlet. 🙂 Two Americans that I met here (their family is here with the mining company) came to watch because they are interested in helping. That is an encouragment.

5. Saturday night we met here in our home. Jose Luis was present (Emilio could not come). We had a sweet time together with him.

6. Today begins a new week. What will it hold? Monday night I am hosting Larissa’s Peruvian baby shower. We have close to 40 women on the invite list. I am excited to see how it all goes. I am sure a post on that will be coming soon.

I think that covers it.

Not Slowing Down

The Last Supper

Let’s just say we are eating rabbit for Manuela’s birthday today. I thought I would post the “before” picture. These rabbits have served us well in their time with us. They have produced a lot of good material for Greg’s compost. Poor Honey and Sugar. AG doesn’t know what happened. She just asked to go show Manuela her rabbits. We wouldn’t let her go outside. I am married to such a man–he performed the slaughter about 30 minutes ago… (I didn’t take pictures of that for the record.)


The Last Supper

Happy 2010

The New Year is here. We decided to not go out for the celebration. Greg and I put the girls to bed, rented a movie to watch, and finished our last newsletter for ’09. At 5 til midnight, Mr. Pinto pounded on our door. “Come outside to celebrate,” he commanded. We felt like we couldn’t say no. We watched the beautiful display of fireworks outside (it really is spectacular) and then were invited up to celebrate some more. Mrs. Pinto gifted me with the traditional New Year’s bouquet of flowers (yellow for happiness, brown for wealth). We watched the Lima celebration on TV (we missed the end of our Anderson Cooper special). The people of Lima were listening to Salsa music and dancing in the year. I know the Pintos think that we are such fuddyduds, but we left shortly after being invited up to retire in our home. I guess I should plan on being a part of their celebration next time. They seem to include us in their special times like this and I am honored. Next time I won’t wear my PJ’s to their celebration. 🙂

Happy New Year to all of you back home. We feel that God has certainly blessed our time here. We look forward to the mighty acts he will perform in 2010.

Exciting things to look forward to:

  • our last trip to Lima to pick up Ana’s visa and renew ours
  • my Dad and Mom coming to visit, and Dad meeting Maggie for the first time
  • meeting our newest team member (the Smith baby)
  • Rachel Steele’s arrival
  • the first Peruvian missionary retreat
  • more summer interns
  • building on relationships started around the community libraries and our neighborhoods
  • the new start we have with Jose Luis and Emilio
  • Shiloh visitors
  • witnessing our girls growing more and more


Happy 2010