Kid Update August 2011

My how they are growing. There are so many times when I think, “I have got to write that down.” Well, here are some things lately that I just don’t want to forget about my kids and the stage that they are in… for now.


Anastasia Grace (4 1/2 years old)

Ana’s independence is really coming out right now. She wants to make her own decisions and do things without help. This ranges from what she chooses to wear for the day to going to the refrigerator and helping herself to whatever she pleases without permission. She is definitely learning boundaries. It is a fun and difficult time. On one hand, I love to see her getting bigger and learning to do things on her own. On the other hand, she can sometimes be a little too big for her britches. That is part of learning.

I have started asking Ana to do help with some chores now. One of her main chores (that I love) is that she hangs socks for me. I don’t have a dryer. Everything is line-dried here.

ana socks

A couple of weeks ago Greg and I had a date night. Ana has always been such a daddy’s girl and wants the same amount of attention that her daddy gives to me. She told Greg that she really wanted to go. Greg promised to take her on a special date the next week. Ana was so excited when I picked her up from school. I loved our conversation. She told me exactly what they were going to do. I explained to her that when a boy asks her on a date, he decides where he will take her. If he wants to ask, she needs to wait for that to happen. When we got home she insisted that she needed to wear her scarf (it was in the 80’s outside). It dawned on me a little while later that I had worn a scarf on my date with Greg. She had it in her head that scarves are what the girl wears when going on a date. Greg took her to McDonald’s and then gave her a choice: popcorn and a movie or games and ice cream. She chose the games and ice cream.

ana date

One evening we were eating dinner and the subject of coffee came up. Ana looked at Greg and asked, “Daddy, I want a crapuccino.” (I guess she took capuccino and frapuccino and mixed them up.)

Ana has been ultra-sensitive about things since Cohen entered the picture.

Ana is so sweet and loving as the big sister. She talks to Maggie and Cohen like she is a momma. She gets home from school and immediately says to Maggie, (in high pitched voice) “Hi sweetie! How was you day? Are you happy to see Nana?” And they hug. Precious. I will have Cohen laughing, and she will want to take over. She wants to be sure that I know when she has made him smile or laugh. She is such a big help to me as the oldest.

She still loves art. And I continue to be impressed with her ability. I know I am biased, but this is something she freehanded and colored after we studied the story of Daniel last Sunday:

ana art

It has really struck me lately how she is following in my footsteps. She really does watch what I do. The scarf story above is one of many examples of this. I like to go up on our rooftop to do my quiet time. I keep a prayer journal and love the chance to get away from the house noise. One afternoon I was journaling, and Ana came up to the roof to see what I was doing. I took the time to explain my journal and why I do it. She said, “I want to write a prayer to God!” I suggested that since she couldn’t write quite yet to draw a picture for God. It was a sweet moment to share with her. I pray that I can be ever mindful of the little eyes that watch me.

Margaret Kathryn (2 years old)

Maggie is something else. She loves people, and she is a talker! We cannot get her to be quiet at times. She gets an idea in her head and says it or asks it over and over again.

mags dress

Just recently I got out all of Ana’s old 2T clothes. Maggie loves wearing dresses. She also loves her Elmo apparrel. We will find her shoes, Ana’s shoes, and our shoes all over their room and the TV area because Maggie loves to try all of them on. She loves accessories.

She heard someone say Amen after singing once, and now she wants to say it after every song we sing with the church. Our church group calls her “Hermana Amen.” And she is just that. After every song we sing together she says it and we all repeat after her. Hilarious.

Her talking is exploding. It is amazing to me how she has already picked up on so much Spanish. She says “gracias,” “no mas,” and “si.” She seems to always understand Manuela when she talks with her. My favorite is hearing her call people by name. Some of my faves: Budiff and Bedo (Judith and Alfredo), Bela (Manuela), Anamam (Abraham), Evina (Etelvina), Dido (Cirilo)…

She loves watching Barney, Backyardigans, Elmo, and Max and Ruby. Here is how our conversation goes every morning after I wake her up: Maggie, “Momma, juice peez.” Me, “OK, we have to get dressed first.” Mags, “Momma, I wanna mawch Bawney.” Me, “Not right now Maggie.” Mags, “Melmo?”… “nanawhns” (Backyardigans)… “Muby (Ruby), Momma.” every.morning.

The girl loves eggs. She would eat 3 every morning if I fixed them for her. She also drinks her weight in whatever we give her. Her favorite beverages are juice, nokna bilk (chocolate milk), and doke (coke)–which she doesn’t get very often.

She is definitely in the “mine” stage. She doesn’t even like it if I prop Cohen up on her pillow. “My peellow, Momma!”

She wants to be so much like Ana. I love seeing them together. It is a great blessing to have two girls in close age. They share a bedroom and that has worked very well so far. Many nights they get into trouble for giggling and playing too late. I look forward to seeing them grow up together.

mags art

Cohen Timothy (4 going on 5 months)

I have decided that this is not my favorite stage of babyhood. He is in between the sleeping all the time stage and sitting up and playing with toys stage. He is right on the verge of sitting up by himself for long periods of time. I sit him on the couch and he holds himself still for long increments of time. He has just started trying to grasp objects in front of him but he can’t figure out how to hang on to them. He also has been caught sucking his thumb. We still swaddle him and use a pacifier so he hasn’t gotten much of a chance to be a thumbsucker yet.

Unlike the girls he HATES to have his diaper changed at night. He cries like I am hurting him every.single.time. It always makes me laugh because he is so delirious. All I have to do, though, is change him, nurse him, and put him back in the bed. He goes rigtht back to sleep.

He is almost sitting up. He can roll from his belly to one side.

cohen situp

I am going to give him rice cereal very soon. It is much earlier than with the girls, but my babycenter email says that a child needs to be 4-6 months, double their birth weight (which Cohen is more than double), able to sit up fairly well (check), and takes an interest in you eating (latest development).

His hair is growing out, but he is definitely sporting the beginnings of a comb over and rat tail. We will be sure to trim those before they get too long. 🙂

cohen closeup

Kid Update August 2011

Why I’m Now A Full-blown Kindle Advocate

I was a Kindle lover before. As a majority world missionary, it gives me access to books that I otherwise have to pay dearly to ship and wait weeks to receive. Additionally, the price break is usually great, and the digital paper technology is phenomenal–I love reading on the thing. But I was a brain candy-only Kindle user. On one hand, as a bibliophile, I still register principled aegis for the printing of hard copies. After all, “Monasterium sine libris. . . .”On the other hand, my Kindle 1.0 didn’t satisfy when digesting academic works. I make far too many marks and margin notes to enjoy stopping and clicking and scrolling and clicking (not to mention the worthlessness of that inane 1.0 scroll/button system; what were they thinking?). I already hate endnotes: all notes should be footnotes; if they’re helpful then don’t make me work so hard to get to them. EReaders of necessity use a note linking system, and again, it was really clunky in the first Kindle model. Also, I’m a tactile learner, so I tend to find a specific citation or a margin note based upon whether it was on the left or right page and where it was on the page. For a book you want to read straight through without thinking and without the hassle of holding open the pages, Kindle rocked. Otherwise, it was order, pay, and wait.That all changed when I caught up to the technology. The real problem with Kindle 1.0 in Peru was that I couldn’t hit Whispernet. So, I did all my shopping on the laptop and uploaded via USB–no problem, but I was oblivious to the other benefit of connecting to Recently, I put the Kindle app on my iPhone for reading while out waiting in lines (make the most of every opportunity, for the days [and the lines] are evil). I was very pleased with the app. It is highly readable, and the highlight interface was better than my Kindle. I was done carrying books around the city; I had a whole library in my pocket. Rad. What is more, I realized it was syncing my notes and highlights to my account. No fee, just free data hosting. There was also a page syncing feature for readers with multiple devices. This would have been handy indeed had my 1.0 actually hit a network.I wanted to see these features in action, though, so I downloaded the Kindle computer app. Sure enough, a change on one device immediately appeared on another. And, it turned out, the interface on the computer screen is even more convenient. The full text of a book is easily searchable, notes and marks are complied in an easy reference bar on the side of the screen, and you can copy and paste from the reader into your word processor. This is what technology is supposed to do!

Suddenly, I found my 1.0 broken. The latest version, to my great joy, comes with a Wi-Fi connection, meaning that while I still can’t hit Whispernet, it does still connect to through my wireless router. I am now fully functional.

In the course of these discoveries, I was working on the latest edition of Missio Dei, which required that I read some academic books on Kindle that I simply couldn’t wait for. With the convergence of my three devices, I became extremely satisfied with a fully digital reading experience. I found it to be actually easier and faster to work with the computer app when reviewing notes and marks, looking for that passage that I needed to reference, and quoting. Neither the iPhone nor the laptop are easy on the eyes for the volume of reading I do, but that is what the digital paper is for. I read and mark in the Kindle and then open up the computer, which is where I’m word processing anyway, and make use of the synced info. If I’m out with just the iPhone, I can still make progress on my reading. It’s a beautiful thing.

I still love books. I love the smell and texture of books. I love walking into a bookstore (long live brick and mortar!). I love the experience of leafing through a book. Libraries are places of wonder, the icon of humankind’s greatest feat, the codification and compilation of language as wisdom and art. Yet, digitalization is the extension of that venerable tradition, not the harbinger of its demise. And convenience, I have to admit, is something else I really like.

Why I’m Now A Full-blown Kindle Advocate

Almost Perfect Iced Coffee

I love the Pioneer Woman. I haven’t made one of her recipes yet that I have not liked. I love coffee, especially frufru coffees like frappuccinos and lattes. So when she posted a recipe for Perfect Iced Coffee, I decided I would try to make it. Well… the recipe is a little time consuming, and I just don’t have a lot of extra time in this stage of my life right now. I was reading my beautiful cousin Jane’s blog, and she states that she just used her own coffee and added a key ingredient that PW recommends in her recipe.

Yesterday morning, I tried it. DELICIOUS! And I plan to try something that a commenter said on PW’s post. The commenter uses left over coffee to make coffee ice cubes. She then uses those cubes instead of ice cubes to keep the delicious coffee flavor instead of a watered down effect. I plan on trying this but putting it into the blender to make a frap for myself.

This is NOT for the dieters out there. Sorry. But if you are looking for a delicious caffeine high without the cost of StarBucks, this is for you to try. Thanks PW, the commenters on PW, and Jane for a delicious, cheap way to make my own frufru coffee!

First, here is the link to PW’s recipe: Perfect Iced Coffee

Here is my shout out to my cousin-in-law’s site: You and Me


Almost Perfect Iced Coffee (servings: 2)

freshly brewed coffee
ice cubes or coffee cubes
sweetensed condensed milk
2 medium sized glasses

1. Brew strong coffee: 4 cups water, 5 large scoops of freshly ground coffee.

2. Refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

3. Pour cold coffee over desired amount of ice cubes and add 1 Tbsp of sweetened condensed milk (or more). I like to see the coffee turn to a creamy color. Stir well before adding more. It takes a little while for the condensed milk to mix in with the coffee.

4. Kick back and have a ton of energy for the day!

Almost Perfect Iced Coffee

MD 2.2 and moving on

After another sleep-depriving sprint to the deadline, we have the next issue of Missio Dei up online. It is a great issue. I highly recommend it. =) We’re still chipping away at the pdf/print edition formatting and finishing up prefaces.
So, I’m back to other activities like blogging.

And reading brain candy! I intend to go back and comment on some of the reading I did for this issue, but for the moment I’m soaking up A Dance with Dragons, which finally came out after five years of “writing.”

I’m currently listening to AWOLNATION’s Megalithic Symphony. Congrats to them for being the first techno-ish (“electronic rock,” technically) album I’ve ever appreciated.

MD 2.2 and moving on

CT—4 months

Cohen, you are growing like a weed. Most everyone that sees you comments on how BIG you are. It is not that you are so chunky, though your little thighs aren’t hurting for extra nutrients right now, you are long! You weigh 16 1/2 pounds and your length is 25.2 inches.

You are laughing a lot more. You take after your momma like your sisters do in the sense that you are definitely ticklish! And I love to take advantage of that. You hold your head up like a champ. When I place you on your belly, you will roll to your back if you have any sort of decline to help with the motion. I have never been a good momma in the realm of “tummy time.” You apparently got your strength just fine in that department without the extra practice.

You have just recently discovered your hands. You grab for things in front of you now. I love seeing you become more and more aware of your surroundings.

You still eat every 3 hours which is wearing me out! You will sleep a 5-7 hour stretch the first part of the night which gives me time to hang out with Daddy while you and your sisters are sleeping, but once you wake up that first time in the middle of the night I can time it exactly that I will be walking down that hallway to your room 3 hours later. Also, you have just recently been waking up around 5 am to watch CNN with me for about an hour before going back to sleep. Can we stop that? I would love to be asleep at 5 am. 🙂

Your sisters love you. One place you are set alot is the corner of the family room couch. You will watch your sisters or watch the TV or just grab for whatever is close by.

You are wearing your 6-9 month clothes. You seem to be hurdling your physical milestones much quicker than your sisters. Does this mean that I will have to learn to deal with a crawler before age one? I won’t know what to do. Just sayin’. Here are some pics of you at four months:


CT—4 months

Mom’s Hot Chocolate Mix

I grew up with 4 other siblings. Every winter my mother would make a huge batch of this mix. Cold weather plus five kids equals a lot of mugs of hot chocolate. Our intern, April, loved drinking this beverage and I told her I would add it to my list of recipes here. It is so easy to put together. For my missionary friends in Peru I have added the metric measurements. Just make sure you have a large container to store it in. It will last you the whole winter season…

Hot Chocolate Mix

2 lbs Nestle Quick (908 grams)
1 lb powdered sugar (3 1/2 cups)
11 ounce jar of Coffee-Mate (1.4 cups)
8-qt box non-fat dry milk (10 2/3 c)

Mix all ingredients and store in an air-tight container. Mix 1/3 cup of mix with mug of hot boiling water.

Mom’s Hot Chocolate Mix

Andrea’s Marvelous Mini Meat Loaves

This is a huge shout out to Andrea Muse. She served this dish to us when we were home on furlough, my mom had told me how delicious they were, and Andrea put the recipe in the Cedar Lane cookbook. If you have never tried this recipe you need to. They live up to their name. They are great to make for a dinner party. I like to serve them with the Pioneer Woman’s Mac and Cheese recipe and steamed brocolli. Delish! And soooooo easy…

Marvelous Mini Meat Loaves

1 egg
3/4 c milk
1 c finely shredded cheese
1/2 c quick oats
1/4 c chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1-1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
sauce: 1/2 c brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp mustard, 2/3 c ketchup

Mix egg, milk, cheese, oats, onion, salt, and beef together. Roll into 6 small loaves. Place in a greased Pyrex. Mix ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard together to make the sauce. Pour sauce on top of loaves and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Andrea’s Marvelous Mini Meat Loaves

The Sacrifice of Time

Ever since Cohen entered the picture I have really struggled with balance in my life. The laundry is endless, the house is a wreck, there isn’t enough protein in the house, I feel like I am being a terrible mom to my girls because of time spent with Cohen… You get the picture. More than any of those things, I have been lacking in my personal time with my Lord. He should be my first priority, and he hasn’t been. I understand that as Cohen gets older I will not be as consumed with nursing and tending to him, but in this time, the here and now, I want and desire to feel that closeness to God. I shared with some friends the other day that I am so thirsty for him. Back in my soccer days, my coach told the team that if we reached the point of feeling thirsty we were already past the point of dehydration. I have been spiritually dehydrated, and I am ready to be filled again.

About a month ago I began, with my teammates and a friend I have met here in the city, a study by Linda Dillow. It is called Satisfy My Thirsty Soul. It has been a godsend for my spiritual walk. The book is about Linda’s journey to learn worship to God in her day-to-day living. I think I have come to realize that I can always look for something to use as an excuse to not spend time with God. Right now it is 3 kids. But if I truly yearn for Him and give my time to him and our relationship, there are multiple opportunities throughout the day to do so. I desire for my God to be my first thought when I wake up and the last thought before I go to sleep. I want his Spirit to whisper in my ear first thing when I see someone hurting or someone that I desire to reach for him. That is how I know I am in tune with God and have my priorities straight.

I am getting back to that, and I thank God for being faithful and loving me enough to be Abba Father. I listened to Dennis Jernigan’s “If I Could Just Sit With You Awhile” and “When the Night Is Falling” the other day and just wept. I love seeing my God as a Daddy that I can just crawl up in his lap and lay my head against his heart.

Diane Litton, Larissa’s mom, visited this past year and gifted the three girls here with a devotional book. She prefaced by telling us she has read many devotional books and not been too impressed but this one was different. She is right. If you are reading this Diane, thank you so much. I have treasured the words of this Christian sister, and it has been wonderful to wake up each day here lately and read these short snipits from her journal. The book is called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I would like to quote her thoughts from August 2. They were the perfect words for me to read in regard to what I have been going through:

“Bring me the sacrifice of your time: a most precious commodity. In this action-addicted world, few of My children take time to sit quietly in My Presence. But for those who do, blessings flow like streams of living water. I, the One from whom all blessings flow, am also blessed by our time together. This is a deep mystery; do not try to fathom it. Instead, glorify Me by delighting in Me. Enjoy Me now and forever!” (Ps. 21:6, Jn 7:38, Ps. 103:11)

I am far from perfect and have such a long way to go in this walk of faith, but right now I am trying my best to work on the relationship that is most important in my life. It is crazy how most everything else seems to fall in line when I have that first priority in place. I tend to have that Martha mentality, but right now my prayer is to be like Mary, to sit at the feet of Jesus and bring the sacrifice of time.

The Sacrifice of Time