March 1, 2011

So can we say “major catch-up?” I have been absent from the family site for most of this month, but tonight I have made several new posts. I am on a new roll. Here is what has been going on:

1. Greg is editor-in-chief of a missions journal that comes out twice a year. This was the month of publication so when I had the time to blog, he usually was using the computer to finish up the journal. I am so proud of him and the board of editors for their hard work on this issue. Here is the website to the journal (totally free). Check it out if you haven’t seen it before: http://www.missiodeijournal.com/ .

2. Greg took a trip 5 hours outside of the city. It is a really neat mission opportunity for the church here in Arequipa. If you haven’t read the article he posted on the team site, you can click this link: http://teamarequipa.net/stories/245-chaclaya .

3. We hosted a Valentine banquet for the church. It was a lot of fun besides all the rain we had that evening.

4. The rain. We have had LOTS of it this month. It has kind of dwindled down lately, but the Peruvians are saying that the rainy season will last thru mid-March. We shall see.

5. One of the women that has attended the library study in Porvenir for the last year has decided to be baptized. She has studied and attended the group that Abraham worships with in the Porvenir community. We rejoice with her and her decision and look forward to hearing the details of when and where.

6. I have written updates on all 3 children. I need Greg to help me post some video footage and we are good to publish. Be looking for those.

7. March is a big month. Our second incentive program for the Porvenir library happens this Saturday. We are hosting a back-to-school carnival for the Porvenir community a week after that. Ana starts school next Monday. And Ana turns 4 on the 23rd!

8. I started language classes again today. I will take them until Cohen arrives.

9. Greg and I are really being challenged in some similar thoughts lately. I will have to say that I am so blessed to struggle thru this step in my Christianity with my partner in ministry. God is molding us together, and that is a neat part of marriage.

10. Nearly 2 months from my due date! Collin, my brother, hopefully finds out his placement for residency this month and graduates from Med school 2 days after my due date. My mother’s hip recovery seems to be going well, and she plans to make the trip to Arequipa to help us after Collin’s graduation. It will be here before we know it.

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March 1, 2011

The Verdict: #2

I feel a lot better today. I tell you that because I have been in a low the past couple of days. I realize that there are many of you that keep up with us through our website. I have posted this update through facebook and an email, but I need to update the family site. Here is a copy of the email I sent the morning after Maggie’s doctor’s visit:

I felt like I should update you all on our appointment since it wasn’t what we had hoped for. At our appointment 2 months ago, the doctor looked at Maggie’s Xray and was very optimistic. Her dysplasia in one hip was totally gone and the other was a few degrees off. He uses a chart that correlates to her age so the angle of her joint in the socket changes as she grows. He told us two more months in a different harness and he was confident that there would be no more treatment. So… all this time I have been psyched to last 2 more months.

We were the first appointment–4 pm. I had planned for us to eat out for celebrating afterward. Ana, Maggie, and me have all been fighting nasty head colds so the fact that the doctor showed up to the appointment at 6:30 didn’t help with that (did I mention that the girls hadn’t napped that afternoon?). So I was thankful to rush into his office and hear the verdict that I had hoped to hear the last 4 months. He looked at the xray, did his measurements, and then asked to see her on the examining table. After he examined her he instructed me that he was done and I could put her harness back on. I just looked at Greg. The doctor is not saying anything while he is “doing his work.”

Apparently, she now has dysplasia in both hips again, and all he said was “2 more months, and we will see.” I don’t think he remembered what he had said at our last appointment. Well, you know me. I can’t wait to leave the doctor’s office, so I immediately started weeping.

I can dwell on so many negative things right now. Besides the milestones I will continue to not see her pass in the next couple of months (or longer), I can’t even put her in the stroller. I looked so forward to walking with a neighbor this Friday using my stroller. Anyway, I am dwelling aren’t I? Maggie is healthy otherwise. She is such a content, smiley little girl. She doesn’t know life without her brace so it isn’t like something was taken away from her that she knew.

I am praying for God to heal both of her hips with his power. So if you can think to remember Maggie Kate in your prayers, please pray for God to totally heal her. I am sorry I didn’t call many of you in person. I was majorly bummed last night and it still lingers this morning. I didn’t really feel like talking to anyone. I realize that there are things so much worse that happen to children. I think that I am learning a lesson of getting my hopes up way too high. It is like I should wake up from a bad dream; however, it is life. And life goes on.

I just love our two little girls. A friend who happens to be a missionary, Nicole, encouraged me by saying that she hoped the smiles of my two little girls would cheer me up. Well they do, Nicole. Here are two pictures that make me smile:
Is it bad to envy your own daughter’s blue eyes?

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Ana came out yesterday to show me her “baby carrier.” If you can’t tell, it is an udder. It goes with a cow costume my mom made for Halloween. I thought the udder was a perfect idea for carrying the baby around. 🙂

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The Verdict: #2

News

Sorry for the catchy title. To keep you informed…

1. Rachel is here! Rachel moved here and will be an apprentice for 2 years. We are so thankful and excited that she is finally here, and we look forward to getting to know her better and seeing how God uses her for his work here. She has already found her apartment (unfurnished), but she has chosen to live with both of the families for a little while to get to know us better. Currently, she resides with us.

2. We are working on a back-to-school bash for the library kids and families. I am excited to see how it all turns out, but I have been placed in charge of the delegating and am enjoying it so far. It will occur sometime the beginning of March (don’t forget that our summer break is coming to an end).

3. We had an enjoyable Valentine’s Day. They celebrate the day of love here in Peru. I was surprised with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a long love letter (thank you sweet husband), and we ate our favorite sandwhich in the city (called the Saltimboca). Ana, Rachel, and I made heart-shaped and flower-shaped cookies (using the red sprinkles left from our Christmas decorating). It was an enjoyable day.

4. Valentine’s Day fell on Carnaval this year. Carnaval is a celebration held before Easter (basically of everything the flesh enjoys). However, the traditions vary country to country. I am not sure what all Carnaval entails here, but there is a major tradition dealing with water. Lots of groups of young people walk around the city (many with faces painted black) and slug any other pedestrian with water balloons, water buckets, flour, silly string, etc. This is our first Carnaval in our neighborhood. We were in the thick of it this year! But the kids were having so much fun. We rode in a taxi to the sandwich place and watched the car in front of us squirt silly string at every poor, defenseless person on the sidewalk. But it was hilarious!

In the afternoon, the Pintos were having a blast up above us. One of the older sons (who is older than me) was sneaking up on the women and throwing water on them. I could not resist. We are on the bottom floor and can look up to their second floor and talk (like an outer hallway). I got my bucket ready, waited for Antonio to sneak around to get the women in the room and flung my bucket up at him. I scored!… but immediately I got the water thrown down on me (more than one bucket). So, I got a little taste of the tradition of throwing water.

OK, that sums it up for now. Happy Belated Valentines Day everyone!

News

The Verdict

Just to remind those of you at home how Peru is NOT like the states:

1. We leave the house at 4:45 for our 5:00 appointment. We arrive on time to the doctor’s office.

2. We are informed that he doesn’t practice at the main office on Mondays. Apparently you are supposed to automatically know this when you call for the first time. We get directions to his other office.

3. We have the appointment. He tells us we need a more recent Xray. He gives us directions to the nearest Xray clinic.

4. We have Maggie Xrayed (they don’t protect her ovaries at this clinic either). We receive the results after waiting for 15 minutes. Not bad.

5. We return to the doctor. He looks over the Xray and explains that Maggie’s dysplasia has not corrected itself and has worsened a little. He tells us we need to purchase the harness and gives us the directions to the store that sells harnesses.

6. We travel to get the harness. The store is supposed to be open, but the owner is gone. Greg calls a number on the window and she says she will be there in 5 minutes (she was attending mass).

7. She shows up about 10 minutes later, and gives us the harness and really long socks.

8. We taxi it back over to the doctor’s office and he has us come back for the final time.

9. He puts the harness on Maggie and shows us where to buckle the belts. He explains that she must wear it at all times (except for bathing) and return in 2 months for a check-up. She cannot wear pants with the harness (that is what the long socks are for). I make a joke that we are starting early with soccer socks. 🙂

10. We arrive home with our harnessed infant (who usually goes to bed at 7) and our champion 2 year old who goes to bed at 8:30. It is 8:30. I put MK to bed, we eat dinner, AG almost falls asleep on the couch.

*I told my mom that the reason many missionary families are so close is because they spend a lot of time together in waiting rooms.

Mission accomplished. We have sealed the deal. The harness isn’t as binding as I thought. Maggie can still sit in the corner of the couch in our favorite position. I can change her diaper (although it is a little bit awkward) without taking the harness off. I think she will be able to sit in the baby sling still.

I am thankful for Maggie’s health and the smile that she gives us from her contentment with life. Thank you for praying for our second daughter. Her hip will heal over the course of the next few months and we will be so thankful. Now for a picture:

Presenting Maggie “Gump” and “Lieutenant Da-add”

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The Verdict

An Update

As far as Maggie goes, this isn’t the update I had in mind…

1. On Sunday we attended the inauguration for Abraham. Great story–Abraham just recently returned to Arequipa from studying at Sunset School of Preaching in the states. He is currently looking for a job and lives with his parents. Abraham is about spreading the kingdom among his people and we have great respect for him. Greg has had multiple conversations with him and I got to visit with him one night over tacos (he likes Tex-Mex). We really like him. Abraham lives in Miraflores (the same district as us) in a community called “Por Venir.” Greg talked with him about our libraries and was very interested in starting one in Por Venir. It is now our largest library location.

Por Venir had their presidential election this past week. The candidates campaign for weeks. Someone recommended that Abraham run for office and they threw his name in the pot 5 days before the voting. He is now President Abraham. Isn’t that awesome! So we attended his inauguration. Greg made a little speech about our work and our desire to help their community through the library. We are excited to see where that all goes. My favorite part of attending the inauguration was the patriotism–“Viva Peru! Viva Arequipa! Viva Miraflores! Viva Por Venir!” I loved hearing the people shout this.

2. Tuesday was a holiday here. December 8 marks the celebration of Mary’s immaculate conception for the Catholics.

3. Maggie started coughing Tuesday afternoon and by midnight was running fever, having diarrhea, and not sleeping well. WE didn’t sleep that night. Today is Saturday and she is much better but still very sleepy. Her cough has kept her up at night. I really think that she caught whatever bug Ana had last week and it does much more damage in a 4 month old body. I think that a baby with a hoarse voice is one of the most pitiful things I have ever heard. So in that regard, it has been another long, sleepless week for us. We never were able to take her to the doctor so we still do not have her treatment. This coming week…

4. We have enjoyed seeing Rylan and Sheree Cox this week. They have been hanging out with the Smiths but we invited them over Thursday night to visit for a little while. We made Symphony Bar brownies in their honor. We always enjoy visitors from the states, and they were so sweet to make the trip with their 1 year old, Abbie Grace. They leave tonight.

5. I made my first-ever cheesecake (thanks for letting me use your pan Larissa). I used the recipe that was served at my big brother’s wedding (thanks Deborah), and my mom gave me a great recipe for a blueberry sauce. My oven ran out of gas while it was baking, but it ended up being very tasty and pretty. I was a big fan of the blueberry sauce. I made the cheesecake for Dr. Losada. She told me that her favorite food from the states was The Cheesecake Factory. She came to our home with her daughter and son and we had a very nice visit. She gave me a thumbs-up on the cheesecake and requested the recipe.

6. Today I am at home with the girls. Greg is helping with a soccer tournament at the Por Venir library location.

Pictures from the week (minus the soccer tounament)

An Update

Back From Lima

We made it safely back from Lima this evening. We left this past Tuesday (we were actually able to take the same flight as Mom and Katy). Thank you so much to the sweet Thompson Family who housed us the entire time. They are part of the Lima team and are supported by Fairlane Church of Christ (that info is for my Cedar Lane family). Allison Thompson is due with their second child in less than 2 weeks so we are very thankful for their willingness to take us in. We can’t wait to hear that Baby T is here Justin and Allison!
Here is what we accomplished this week:

1. We started our visa process. We hired a guy that we contacted through the Lima team that seems to have an “in” with the Peruvian system for getting visas. We return in 6 weeks to finalize our permanent resident visas and start on the girls’.
Greg being fingerprinted for his background check.

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2. Maggie is proud to be an American! Greg and I had an appointment with the US Embassy on Friday morning. The process went very well (compared to the Peruvian process for her birth certificate). We will receive her US passport in the mail by August 21.
Maggie’s mug shot for her passport picture

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3. We were able to meet some of the Lima team members we didn’t know and hangout a little while. They are a great group of people. Please keep their team in your prayers. They are settling into their new homes and waiting for the rest of the team members to arrive by the end of the year. We are thankful to have American friends in the big city of Lima. I know that we will draw encouragement and revival from one another in the years ahead.
Peruvian MK’s

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teamAREQUIPA and the Lima Team in Lima 2009

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So, now we are home–our little family of four. Greg’s mom will be here on the 21st of this month. Mom and Katy made it safely back home. Thanks to all of you that have prayed for us. Specifically, God has answered our prayer for finding a way to get our permanent visas. That is a huge blessing to us here.

Back From Lima