*ahem* Anyone still out there?

Yes, I know.  The last time I posted about our family on this blog was about 3.5 months ago.  There have been numerous times when I’ve thought about sitting down to write, but it just hasn’t happened.  It’s not like I haven’t had a moment, but honestly it’s felt like it would take more energy than what I wanted to give each time I thought of it.  Newborns are great and all, but they sort of zap your energy. 🙂

I have no specific plan for this post (scary thought, I know), so I guess I will begin with this.  Justin got me a Kindle this past Mother’s Day.  Because I’m just so sweet and sensitive, I gave him a bit of a hard time about it (wink, wink).  See…we’re not really big gift givers on days like Mother’s Day.  In fact, if I’m completely honest, we sometimes do a horrible job (both of us) of planning ahead for things like Christmas.  I know.  That’s horrible.  Not every Christmas…or every birthday…or every *insert big deal day of your choice* do we drop the ball, but there have been years that have come and gone when we’ve just given a card or maybe gone out on a date (which is obviously better than nothing!) for some of those bigger special occasions.  When it comes right down to it, neither of us is overly bothered by this, but I do think both of us would like to be a bit more consistent with our gift giving for those special days.  Just so I won’t totally embarrass myself, I feel the need to say that we DO give each other gifts…don’t get me wrong.  AND…I think we’re both actually pretty good gift givers (if I do say so myself).  If I think about it some more, I feel like living here in Peru has sort of taken us down this road.  Half the time, the gift that we both might want isn’t even available here.  The other half of the time, the gift we might want/want to give costs literally double the price due to it being an imported item or something like that.  So there…it’s not ALL our fault. (haha).  ANYWHOOOO…(just so you all know, none of that has anything to do with what I was intending to write).  Needless to say, I sort of made fun of Justin for getting me a Kindle (which I considered a big deal) for Mother’s Day when we had sort of not even given each other much last Christmas.  There.  I said it.

Don’t worry folks.  I’ve repented for the fact that I kind of thought a Kindle was a bad gift.  That Kindle (you know, the one I didn’t even think I needed) has become my best friend.  OH.MY.WORD.  So…EASY!  I have probably read like 6 or 7 books since this past Mother’s Day, which is equal to the amount of books I’ve probably read in the whole time I’ve been a mother.  That would be 5+ years.  I LOVE my Kindle!

My point: I have recently been reading a short book called “Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess” by Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker.  Yes, friends, I have certainly found myself in moments/days/weeks of weariness.  Even before Carter was ever born.  Parenting is just a challenge, right?!  It is fun and rewarding, but to be honest, it’s also plain old tiring.  To top it off, I’m not perfect at, and sometimes I find myself REALLY messing things up.  And that’s hard to swallow in those times when I reflect on how a day has gone or how any one given moment of our day unfolded and it’s obvious that it didn’t play out well.  I am just so thankful that I know and have the support of a loving God.  I would be a complete mess with no hope if God wasn’t on my side.  Seriously, people.

In this book, one of the things one of the authors writes about is her experience with the hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour”.  It touched me, because one of my favorite songs is “Lord I Need You” by Chris Tomlin.  You can listen to it here if you’ve never heard it before: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESWGYf–tMw.  Obviously it’s a bit different than the hymn, but the idea is much the same.  In the book it mentions the history of this hymn and that it was written by a housewife, Annie Hawks, in 1872.  I looked it up some more, and I came across something that Annie Hawks wrote about the song:

“For myself, the hymn, at its writing, was prophetic rather than expressive of my own experiences, for it was

wafted out to the world on the wings of love and joy, instead of under the stress of great personal sorrow,
with which it has often been associated.At first I did not understand why the hymn so greatly touched the throbbing heart of humanity. Years later,
however, under the shadow of a great loss, I came to understand something of the comforting power of the
words I had been permitted to give out to others in my hours of sweet serenity and peace.”
Like Annie Hawks, I deeply desire to have this mindset about Christ in my life – even every hour of my life.  I don’t just want to be singing this song because I’m weary.  I want to be acknowledging my need for Him even when my cup is overflowing!  Another verse the authors point out is 2 Chronicles 16:9a, NASB:
“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth
that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is just that I deeply desire the support from the Lord that 2 Chronicles talks about, but it is painfully obvious to me that if I’m not living to the tune of the song “I Need Thee Every Hour”, my heart cannot be completely His.  I’ve tried.  It’s impossible, and the mess isn’t just mine.  It affects my entire family.
On a completely new note.  I am LOVING having a newborn in the house!  Carter is just literally precious, and he couldn’t be a better baby except for when we’re in the car (haha).  He pretty much doesn’t like his carseat unless he’s sleeping, and those days when he sleeps all the time are fading fast!  Here’s the little cutie at just about 4 months old (in his 9m old outfit…what?!)
Here are a few things we’ve had happen since Carter’s birth (about the last time I posted)…
Both Cailyn and Corban fell on the same day a couple of months ago and both had to get stitches.  Cailyn fell from a hammock at a friend’s house and once Justin was back from the ER with her, Corban fell that late afternoon when Justin took him to ride his scooter outside.  It was a great day.
We had a little Halloween shindig with our teammates, and I thought you all might get a kick out of a couple of pictures we got.
Our crazy crew…
One of the first houses we went by for candy had this sign.  It basically says, “Don’t bother us.  Electric fence.”  Geez.
For the last few years we’ve really gotten a kick out of how careful the people here are when they hand out candy.  Many people just crack their doors, hand candy out of the corner of their window, or put up signs like the one above.  It really is fairly funny, although we probably shouldn’t laugh too hard seeing as last year there really was an incident in front of our home that involved a guy with a gun on Halloween night.  Still, this next picture just makes me laugh.  The kids were too short to reach this tiny window (and what is this hole for normally anyway?!), and the lady inside just stuck her hand out and dropped candy on to them.  We adults were literally laughing our heads off.  It’s things like this that make great memories, right?
IMG_0398When it was all said and done, we probably found about 5 houses in numerous blocks walked that were even handing out candy, and we all agreed that it’s a good thing our kids have no clue what snickers, skittles, butterfingers, laffy taffy, etc. are, or they would be SORELY disappointed in Halloween here. 🙂  It’s things like this that make you aware again that much of what you feel your kids are “missing out on” occasionally by living in another country is really only about what you were used to as a child as opposed to them actually knowing they have “missed out” on anything.  For all of these kids, their reality is Peru, and that includes all of the 80 different types of hard candy that get passed out at Halloween or put in party goodie bags.  They’re probably healthier for it anyway, right?
We had a great Thanksgiving with our team and some new friends as well.  I have no pictures of that day.  Our camera has sort of gone nuts on us, and I’ve not been great at taking pictures – something I hope to change soon!  We had a ton of food, and we enjoyed spending nearly our entire day together being thankful for a lot!
Another sweet photo of the tiny one in the house…
This next picture cracks me up, because despite the attempts Corban makes to be really sweet, Carter is learning already that he needs to be on the watch for his busy, energetic big brother!  He’s showing his uncertainty well in this picture. 🙂
I had some good helpers at Thanksgiving to make all of our food…
You can find pumpkins here, but they are not really common.  We chose to just paint ours this year since we don’t really have a great space to carve them now in our apartment.  The kids thought this was super fun, and it was certainly less messy!
My other helper who was really more of a mess-maker.  But he’s cute, so I let it slide this year …
We put up our Christmas decorations a couple of days after Thanksgiving, and with that comes all of our Christmas books!  My parents had Christmas books under our tree each year when I was growing up, so it’s fun to keep that tradition with our kids.  
We stopped our decorating for a bit and dressed the kids up to get a quick festive photo…of course Carter smiled in between each flash.  I was a bit sad we didn’t grab one with his cute little grin, but I was happy with this one just the same…
DSC_0139 - Version 2
We took our first beach trip of the “summer” a couple of weeks ago, and we actually just went again today.  It’s beginning (NOT to look a lot like Christmas around these parts) to get really hot, and we wanted to get the kids to the beach at least once before we leave (THIS TUESDAY!!) for our furlough in the States.  They have been asking about the beach pretty much since last summer, and we’ll unfortunately be gone for most of beach season here while in the States.  It’s a little bittersweet.  Anyway, Carter really loved it, as you can tell. 🙂
Actually, it was a bit windy and slightly chilly that day unfortunately, so Carter  didn’t like the wind.  The kids had a blast despite it not being super sunny.  We were glad to get a day in at the beach nonetheless.
Carter is really into Praise Baby DVDs, which is huge for me since Cailyn officially started Kindergarten with me in our homeschooling venture back in October.  He enjoys sitting at the table with us, but  after a while there’s just so much I can do with him in my lap.  Anyway, he’s an angel baby, really, and he is very content to sit and watch/listen to the great praise songs they have on those DVDs.  It saves me on some days!
Cailyn has done really well with homeschooling so far.  I know the year technically starts in August or so, but I was 10 days from having a baby when August hit.  So, I preplanned several weeks of lessons and activities that coincided with a K4 curriculum that I am sort of loosely using with Cailyn, and I made a goal of starting October 1st with her K year.  She actually just finished her PreK year at the school we had her enrolled in this year on Friday the 14th, and it could not have been a better experience.  There is a small part of my heart that is sad that she will no longer have the opportunity to be in a Spanish speaking environment in that capacity, but Justin and I agreed the other night that we do not regret in any way our decision to homeschool the kids. So, there is also an excitement that comes with knowing that from here on out, or at least until God changes our schooling path, we have adventures waiting for us with her (and the boys as well) as a homeschooling family.  Here is a picture of her with her 3 teachers on the last day along with the kids that had made it to school by the time we dropped her off.  Somehow when I said, “Una foto Cailyn!”, the other kids thought that meant all of them, too. 🙂
Santa came to the class Christmas party Cailyn’s class had.  I thought these pictures were hilarious.  The party was at a club near the beach, and the reflection of the sun off the ocean was SO BRIGHT!  So, Cailyn naturally needed her sunglasses.  Makes you really feel like Christmas.  Justin and I decided Santa was probably going to lose a few lbs. by the time the evening was over since it was so hot in his suit!
Little brothers and sisters got presents, too (you know, if mom and dad brought them something), so Corban got his picture as well.  He wasn’t too sure about wanting to get too close. 🙂
Corban has his last day of classes at his Nido (preschool) on Monday, and we let him ride his scooter a few blocks to school as a “last week of school” treat.  Since we moved, it’s hard to do things like this (being so far now and all), and one of his classmates gets to ride his scooter every day.  After Corban asking and begging to do this for days, we thought we had a great opportunity to make a treat out of it as well as learn a little bit about not being jealous of our friends who “ALLLLLways get to ride their scooter to school EEEEEvery day!” (according to Corbs).
Today we had a super time at the beach one last time before we head out.  Our teammates, Lee and Stephanie Fletcher, have a 7 year old daughter, Sofia, who has taken up surfing this year, and she is great at it!  She goes each Saturday for her lesson, and today many of our team joined her in the water.  Of course, we’re big enough in numbers that it also meant that many were on the shore enjoying watching them and playing in the sand!  Below is a picture of Derek Yoakum (4 years old – the blonde duh, right?) and Corban (3) playing together.  It is honestly one of the biggest blessings to see our kids growing together and developing relationships with one another as they get older.  Derek and Corban are becoming close, and I think it mostly has to do with the fact that they can both hold their own in a wrestling match as well as enjoy being a bit more rough and tumble than some of the others do.  They make a good pair. 🙂  This little pool of ocean water on the rocks was their paradise for a while this morning.  It is certainly fun to live just 15 min. from this!
The Fletcher family is contagiously fun, and Cailyn’s Tío Lee  (“uncle”) was awesome enough to take her out into the water on his surf board.  Cailyn has been saying she wants to learn how to surf, but this child typically is way not into the ocean water.  She is fine building sand castles BEHIND where we set up our chairs (hah!).  But, at the end of last summer and as this summer is approaching, she has shown some more nerve when it comes to getting wet!  Today it BLEW.MY.MIND that she let Lee take her out.  I saw him motion to her, and she jumped all over the opportunity to go.  It is fun to see your kids grow out of fears and learn and experience new things.  It was yet again a moment when I praised God for having other family-like adults in her life that will take moments to have fun with her and teach her something new.  Here’s a picture Justin got…a little hard to see, but she’s out there!  Looks like Parker D., her sweet friend, is either cheering her on or yelling that she wants to join them!  Parker’s another influence in Cailyn’s life when it comes to breaking out of her shy or timid shell. 🙂
Well, I think I about covered the main events since about the time Carter was born (haha).  I know I’ve already said it, but we couldn’t be any more excited to be seeing family in a few days as well as getting to meet many of the new friends and supporters we have at the Littleton Church of Christ in Colorado who have begun to support our family just this year!  Leaving your home for a couple of months can be a little crazy, and there’s a part of me that fears I might come back to a few things having molded while I’m gone (haha…i’m not kidding), but there’s just something about our life as missionaries that allows for so much reflection and renewal when you leave and then come back again.  Leaving for 2 months and returning kind of gives you an opportunity to regroup, reprioritize, start new, make new goals, etc.  It is a fresh start in some ways, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but I need that sometimes!  So, the next time I post something, I plan for it to be accompanied by some pictures of us with friends and family in Texas!!  Thanks again to all of you who keep up with us here on the blog!

Feliz Día, Mamá!

Well, it’s ALL about Mother’s Day here.  Perú celebrates Mother’s day on Sunday as well, so there are red hearts in every store window, signs saying how we all love our moms, and sweet kids who’ve made cute gifts to give out to their mommas this week at school.  Cailyn’s Nido was no exception, so we got to have a sweet little mother/daughter picnic at her school this morning.  She got to wear a dress (a huge highlight for her!), and we got Dunkin Donuts and yogurt…her two fave things…to eat at our picnic (it was more of a breakfast).

Just before leaving for her school…

When we arrived, we had to find our child’s wonderful drawing, and then we got to set up camp there…

The back of the picture was an interview they had given her about me.  It said…

and…in English…it said:

“My mommy’s name is Alison.  I don’t know how old she is.  She is big, she has long, brown hair, and she is beautiful.  ‘She is good!’  I don’t know where she works.  Sometimes, she wears pants.  She likes to eat oranges, and sometimes she drinks water.  She takes me to the park, outside, and to the park close to my house.  We play with my little brother, Corban, sometimes with my Barbies and Corban’s cars.  I love her a lot.  Cailyn.”

Not sure if she meant…sometimes I wear pants and other times I wear nothing…or if she meant that sometimes I wear pants and other times something else…hmmm.  I need to make sure I’ve got clothes on when I’m around her to really emphasize in her mind that I don’t generally walk around with just a top on.  Otherwise, I felt complimented. 🙂

Here’s a lot of the mommas from Cailyn’s class…(that’s my little yellow pillow seat in between the two ladies on the far left)

Cailyn’s teacher leading her class out…with the leader picking her nose…

All set to give her big presentation!

She stood there while the kids all said a poem.  Then she stood there as they all sang a cute song.  Then she asked to sit down with me, and when I told her to wait because I didn’t think they were done, she began to cry.  Nice.  So, I let her sit down in my lap while they all sang their English song, twinkle, twinkle little star…the only one she probably knew.  Go figure.  Then, I had to sort of trick her into going back with them to their classroom for a minute when they all walked out.  She finally went, and that was when we “set up” our picnics.  I got video, but it’s the most boring thing you’ve ever seen.  She does nothing.  Oh, wait.  It isn’t that boring, because Maddox Fletcher stole the show on his side of the square, so I focused in on him for Steph.  Hope her blog readers like it.  I’m not gonna post it here, because my child literally just stands there.  Not the greatest thing to watch if you’re a fan of the Thompson family…hah!

Things got better when it was time to break out the donuts!

Then, Cailyn began to cry again because all I had for her to drink was a yogurt drink, which happens to normally be her favorite thing.  Oh…no…she wanted water.  Stephanie (thanks again!!) very graciously let her, another person’s 3 year old, drink out of her water bottle…something that takes a strong stomach, really.  Good friend, that Steph girl!  She did make sure, though, that Cailyn had finished the bite of donut she was on.  I’m talking…it would have been serious back wash.  yuck.  To top that off, Maddox was basically willing to share everything they had brought with Cailyn, and we even ended up stealing an ENTIRE package of crackers from them due to the fact that Cailyn was feeling full of her donut and about to cry that there was no other option of food.  I was definitely not feeling like mom of the year.

So, we were fairly unstable the entire time emotionally…and by we, I just mean Cailyn.  She was definitely not on her A-game, but, what can I say…we’re still a work in progress.  ME (for how I handle it…ahem)…and…HER (for her frustrating attitudes!).

At the end the mom’s received a cute gift that they had made.  A jewelry box.  Cailyn was SO excited, and I was told right then and there to take off my jewelry so that we could keep it safe in that new box of mine. 🙂  We got a picture, but the box is slightly cut off…you can still see the cuteness, though!  Oh…and that’s leftover donut on Cailyn’s face.

It was a happy time all in all. 🙂  I’ve already warned J that if they have a Father’s Day event he will have to make sure he packs the right food.  Cover your basis, that’s all I have to say.  Happy early mother’s day!

Poco a Poco

Little by little…that’s how life is with Cailyn.

Our sweet Cailyn started her first day of preschool this past Monday, and it has been a great experience so far.  Just to backtrack a bit…

For several months now we have really been praying about the decision to put her into a Nido (preschool) here in Peru.  I just adore having her at home and preparing things for us to do, and I have realized that God has really put it on my heart to be very intentional with our kids in this way.  I even bought a lesson planning book while we were in the States and wrote out what we would (*most likely) do each week for almost our first 2 full months that we would be back here in Peru.  It has served me extremely well, and I have LOVED having the work done ahead of time.  It makes things much less stressful!  In addition to that, Justin has built shelves in our guest bedroom closets that are full of craft supplies, activity books, educational books, games, etc. (mostly thanks to my mom!).  It is honestly my favorite room in the house now!  We’ve recently had a ton of work done to our house thanks to our landlord, and in addition to that work, we finally got the kids’ rooms and the guest room painted.  I’m very pleased with how they all turned out, and we have officially turned our guest room into an activity room/office (with a kid’s work table and small reading corner for the kids).  Corban’s room will now be for guests when they come.  ALL of that to say…I love being organized when it comes to doing things with the kids, and I’ve found that our best days happen when I have some sort of idea ahead of time as to what we might be doing that day.  So, why would I want to send Cailyn to preschool if I could do anything they are doing right here in my home?

Believe me, I truly wrestled with this, cried over the uncertainty of what we should do, wondered what was best, talked it out with Justin till we were blue in the face, prayed, and prayed, and then we finally decided…

Kid’s Place.  That’s where she would go.

I can honestly say that our life here is great in so many ways.  I love being a mom here for a lot of reasons.  But…that doesn’t mean it hasn’t also been hard.  God has brought me to a place where I am more open to see how he will lead us amidst a life where Cailyn has school each morning from 8:30-12:45pm.  I have realized that having our child in a setting in which she can be with fluent Spanish speakers is the way God has it for us now, and that is ok.

I know I’ve written a lot about Cailyn and her personality on this blog, so this might not be new for any of you…BUT…Cailyn is 100% timid here.  She rarely initiates conversation with anyone new here.  If they speak Spanish and she doesn’t know them well, it’s like pulling teeth to get her to even smile, much less extend an “hola” to them.  She watches other kids on the playground, but rarely does she interact with them much more than saying hi or following them around from a distance.  She is just very unsure, and it comes out through a lack of conversation, ignoring others when they speak to her, and sometimes just flat out being ugly to our spanish-speaking friends.

When we were in the States for those 4 months, we saw a very different child.  In fact, she made conversation with the American man who was sitting in front of us on our flight to Texas back in September nearly the entire trip back!  She made new friends fairly easily, she talked to complete strangers with ease, and she was much more open to the English-unknown than she has EVER been to the Spanish-unknown.  I began praying while in the States that she would take her newly found confidences back home to Peru with her.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Cailyn will always somewhat be like I am describing…slow to warm up, easy to misunderstand sometimes, and then sometimes just down right rude with her anti-meet-new-people attitude..no doubt this will always be something we work on with her.   But, we are looking forward to seeing how God will grow her as she experiences this new schedule.

With one week of school under her belt, she is still showing signs of her old self.  I mean…duh.  It’s been one week.  BUT, I am so excited to have also seen some huge strides in Cailyn’s willingness and ability to interact with Spanish-speakers here even within this first week.  Just to name a couple/few things:

  • She actually said “hola” to our friend from church when that friend came over this past Tuesday night (after day#2 of school) with great enthusiasm and with no pressure from me!
  • She willingly (which is absolutely amazing) gives “besos” (kisses to say hi or bye) on most occasions now at school and sometimes outside of school.  This is some serious “your in my personal space” action for her!
  • She actually told me what she would need to say IN SPANISH if she wanted to know someone’s name at school.  She has known for a couple of years what “Cómo te llamas?” means, but she has literally never asked someone that on her own initiative before.

Now, these things are ABSOLUTELY no big deal for almost all of our other team children.  In fact, nearly all of the older kids speak a ton more Spanish than Cailyn, and saying “hola” or “cómo te llamas?” would be something they would laugh at if someone were to ask if they really knew how to say those things…but…not for our Cailyn.  She is definitely taking things “poco a poco” (little by little), and we could not be more proud of her for not only enduring, but enjoying her first week of school.

Miss Rossana, her Spanish teacher, has been WAY patient with her!  She reports to me that Cailyn generally stays by her side much of the time, does not really speak to the other kids much, sort of turns her head when they try and speak to her, but does not cry at all.  I’ve not been surprised by all of this, really, although I can definitely say God is teaching me so much about how to be patient, compassionate, and encouraging.  You see, I could not be described as a “stick by the teacher and don’t talk to others” kind of person.  I have never been to preschool in Spanish, but I feel like it would have been true that I might have branched out a bit faster than Cailyn most likely will.  I have found myself wanting to talk her through how to make friends, how to remember to practice her Spanish, and how to be kind so that others will want to play with her…but God has truly put a muzzle on my heart and mouth this past week.  I have been reminded that she is shy even when speaking in English sometimes.  She is slow to warm up with new people, and she cannot be pushed to participate too quickly and not on her own accord.  She is her father’s child! 😉

I selfishly want her teachers and classmates to know the true Cailyn that I know…NOW!  I want them to see immediately how wonderful she is, how kind she is to others, how much she has matured in this past year, how wonderfully attentive to detail she is, how amazingly well she speaks, and so.much.more.  But, I am being called to wait.  I am being told to be patient.  And…if I can be completely honest…I am receiving a lesson on relinquishing control.  I have issues with that. 🙂

I told Justin yesterday that I have been impressed with her school so far.  I am also so very glad that God is allowing Cailyn to work through her language learning/confidence skills at an early age.  Thank you, God for caring for our family during this transition!

Cailyn outside of her school on her first morning.  She was SO EXCITED!!

C and her sweet, sweet teacher…Miss Rossana..

We have an 18m old…

As of Feb. 23rd.  So, so, so hard to believe!  How can our little baby be a year and a half?!  I feel like 2 is around the corner, and I am SO not ready for that!  I guess it’s just hard to imagine not having the chunky cheeks to kiss, the sweet babbling sounds each morning through the monitor, and all of the broken words that he says.  It’s a good thing there are other things to look forward to, though!  This is what our Corbs is up to these days:

Stripping down to his diaper to play outside in the water hose.  He’s serious about it.

Taking breaks from the water hose in order to perfect that mean golf swing.  Again…serious business.

(notice he got air with this one)

Eating sidewalk chalk, drawing some, and messing up Cailyn’s drawings…

“Vrrrrooooommm-ing” his cars…

Being cute in his paint smock…


Decorating valentine cookies, vigorously…

and, finally…still trying to master that old spoon…

and, although the eyes are blurred, this best shows where the yogurt usually goes…

He’s pretty much the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.  Period.

He also:

  • still has a few random teeth here and there that have yet to make an appearance
  • sits in time out quite a bit for hitting, throwing things, and running away when we tell him to come
  • calls Cailyn “dihdah” for “sister”
  • naps 3 hours a day (and if he isn’t napping, we leave him in his bed that long anyway…haha)
  • sleeps from 7:30am-7am or so without a peep
  • gives any kind of tv show or kid video about 2 minutes of attention, and those 2 minutes MIGHT turn into 3 if it’s “Diego” or “Barney”
  • eats pretty well I guess, but has a TERRIBLE habit of throwing his food or plate…or both…off of his tray when he doesn’t want anymore.  **imagine the yogurt above…yes, the wonderful, peruvian, watery yogurt…all.over.the.floor.
  • screams a lot, but a bit less than 2 months ago…that’s progress I guess. 🙂
  • says any word you want him to, can pronounce nearly any word with pretty good clarity, and has a vocabulary that he uses without our prompting of HUNDREDS (well…it might be less than that ;)) of different words. 🙂  seriously, though…this kid can talk!
  • good at acting shy, and likes to stay close to mom and dad until he feels comfortable with someone
  • insists on using the stairs on foot instead of his bottom.  this has been ok since he holds on very well…but we still have to be there with him, of course.
  • has an obsession with guitars
  • still LOVES his ball pit, playing outside, his golf clubs, and chasing/being chased

Oh, I could go on and on.  I absolutely love that he is ours!

And…just because I can’t get enough of him and think you might like a walk down memory lane with me…here are some old photos.  (if you’re still reading…bless you! haha!)

Almost here! (pay no attention to my swollen self) 😉

Just a couple of short hours later…Day 1.

6 months and OH.SO.SWEET!

Happy “1 Year” Birthday!…

and, finally…18 months old and livin’ it up at the beach. :)…

This & That

I have had lots of random “maybe I will blog about that” thoughts lately, but nothing really extremely important.  So, I thought I might just put them all together for a random update and view into my life these last weeks.

The kids swim/play with the water hose pretty much every day.  I love that our entire back wall of our living/dining area is a big huge sliding glass door…well, 2 of them.  They stay open almost all day long.  So, the kids sort of just roam in and out of the house constantly during the day.  I decided today that I have to start shutting the door on Corban when he is swimming or using the water hose, because otherwise, he would walk right into the house with the running water if I wasn’t watching.

Corban and Cailyn seem to be in a bittersweet stage when playing together.  They a.d.o.r.e. one another, yet in any given moment one is bothering the other one.  It’s either that “he is is hitting me”, “mines, mines, mines!”, “he thought this was his, but it’s mine!”, “back! back! back!”, etc…  In defense of Cailyn, Corban really does bug her quite a bit.  I think it’s that he just wants her attention, but he is constantly doing something to bug her.  We began sitting him in time out for hitting and throwing things at her when we were in Texas, and that seems to be a good option for us now.  He also gets swatted and a flick in the mouth for screaming.  He’s quite the little toot. 🙂  BUT…I must say, he is less of a strong will than Cailyn is.

We are in the midst of having our entire house painted.  Well, scraped is more like it.  I mentioned all of the terrible mess on the walls.  It’s been one week, and 3 men have gotten the entire front of our house/gate area done.  They have the whole rest of the house to go.  Oh, fun.  It hasn’t been that bad.  It just smells pretty potent 24/7.  They have done an amazing job so far, though!

I hosted my first Team Kid Saturday Morning Activity Time (it has no name, I just titled it that for your understanding) this morning.  Tara D. helped me, which was amazing!  I couldn’t have kept them all in line by myself. 🙂  We successfully had 7 of them participating in Crafts and Games at the same time, so that was fun.  I hope to host this once a month.  I just realized that I had so many resources (books/websites/craft supplies) that I wasn’t using, so I thought having a fun Saturday morning activity time once a month might be good.  God blessed it this morning for sure!

We’ve decided to let our house help go at the end of March.  Some of you might not even know we have house help.  Anyway…we do.  She (Yenny) comes 3 days a week and helps clean.  She cooks on occasion for lunch…maybe once every week and half or so.  She started work the day after Corban was born.  Don’t get me wrong…it’s nice to have.  I just felt really different about it once we got back to Peru.  I’ve always sort of liked my days that I have to myself…without her coming…and I think we just decided it was time to do something different.  Really, there were several emotions and thoughts that helped us come to this decision, but at any rate…Yenny won’t be working for us anymore after March.  We do plan to use her for babysitting now and then, though, because she LOVES our kids and we really trust her with them.  I don’t regret our decision, but I will miss her company and how the kids enjoy having her around.  Oh…and the help at times! (gotta be honest!)

Corban pretty much repeats any and all words he hears.  So, Spanish hasn’t been a barrier for him since we’ve been back.  It shouldn’t be.  He’s just nearly 18m.  Cailyn is very much accepting Spanish better since we’ve come back.  She is more open to answering people in Spanish, which she sort of avoided before.  She is starting a sort of pre-school March 7th.  It’s all in Spanish, so that should help her take off.

I am really looking forward to diving into some new Bible studies starting this past Thursday and in the following weeks.  I SO need some new direction!

Speaking of direction…I am way back on board with the whole exercise thing.  I cannot say how thankful I am to have girl teammates who desire to do this with me.  If you’re a young mother…or really any woman in any stage…I would 100% recommend finding yourself an exercise group/partner.  I absolutely love my girlfriends, and when we can stay healthy together, it’s the best.  6am is our hour of choice.  Well…mostly due to the fact that those munchkins start waking up not too much later than that. 🙂

Ok, I’m going to stop blabbing about all of the random thoughts I have.  OH…one more thing.

I kind of mentioned to Justin that I thought we should save the money we would normally be paying Yenny each month…for a few months…and then possibly purchase one of those iRobot Roomba (click on it to see the website) vacuum cleaners.  Does anyone out there have one of these??  I have all hard wood floors, tile in the kitchen, and a few rugs that aren’t hard to vacuum over.  We get dust/dirt that blows in CONSTANTLY, and sweeping is something we have to do here like 24/7 to try and keep the floor even halfway decent.  And…no…it’s not JUST because we leave the doors open in the day time.  There are no sealed doorways/windows in our house…so, I’m sure you can imagine.  If you do, please tell me if you like it, if it’s worth the price, which model you have/like, etc!  I would LOVE some feedback if anyone has any to give!

And…just some pictures of what the kids have been working on lately…

Playdoh…always fun.

Letter Learning Crafts

(most of which I get from this AMAZING website…www.notimeforflashcards.com)

Brother does stuff too…like play with pom poms…

(and, yes, you can totally see only ONE area of our walls in this picture)

or…put stickers on paper (which takes all of like 3 minutes of his attention)

For the letter “B”, I set up a baby “nursery” in our living room.  Cailyn L.O.V.E.D it!  She played forever!

We went out to a small pool/resort area with our team yesterday.  We all take Fridays off normally, so occasionally we all do something together.  It’s nice to take advantage of the swim time during our few short months of summer here.

Liam Fletcher & Corban

Maddox Fletcher & Jakob Yoakum

Parker Davidson & Cailyn

Guess I better end this.  Justin and Cailyn left the house at 4pm for a birthday party, and they just walked in…at 10:15pm.  Welcome back to Peru.

What we do…

Here’s what we’ve been up to in pictures mostly.

More fun activities. My mom gave me this cool book, Mommy Teach Me!, a while back, and I read half of it in Costa Rica and the rest here in Peru. The author, Barbara Curtis, gives some wonderful ideas on things to do with your preschool aged kids, and she makes some great points about how to really figure out how your child works and functions. I enjoyed it, and I’ve been trying to put some of it into practice. It’s been fun.

Glitter and Glue.  Messy, but we did it on the back patio, so I just had to sweep well when we were finished.  She did great, and it was fun to see her excited that I was allowing her to do it all alone.  Patience.  It took patience. =)


Pouring.  This was one of the ideas in the book, so I bought lentils.  She played here for quite some time.  She even peed on herself and I had to remind her that just because she was having fun didn’t mean she could sit in a puddle of pee.  Good times.



This wasn’t from the book, but I bought Cailyn a pair of her own scissors a few months ago, and she LOVES them.  I’ve written about it on here before I’m pretty sure.  Anyway, we’ve designated a few of her coloring books as “cutting books”.  She goes to town…


Nana gave us a really cool Coloring Apron.  The apron came with crayons that go into tiny pockets in the front.  Cailyn loves to color, so this was a special treat.



SUN!!!!!  We’ve been having sunny days lately.  Not scorching hot like Texas summers, but getting less chilly.  The wind sometimes makes it a little cooler, but we’ve had some hotter days as of late.  We pulled out the water hose again.  The yard gets watered, and she has fun, too.  We all benefit.




Justin is the best dad, and Cailyn just adores him.  The other night we went for a walk before dinner, and Justin bought Cailyn some cotton candy from a vendor on the road.  We came back home and had a movie night after eating dinner.  Cailyn had never seen “Finding Nemo”, so we found it on YouTube and watched it while munching on some stove-top-popped popcorn and cotton candy…very fun.




There are a couple of Organic Markets here on Saturday mornings near our home, and we’ve been meeting the Davidsons, our teammates, there for the past few weeks to do some shopping and to let the kids enjoy the park.  There is everything from clothes, jewelry, and kids toys to fruits and veggies, yogurt, cheese, breads, etc.  It’s great fun, and Tara and I have loved the chance to shop solo while the kids are off enjoying the great outdoors.  This past week the dads got the kids some snacks from one of the vendors, so here they are chillin’ and chompin’ on some great organic goodies.  Aren’t these 3 just too cute?


Baby Brother has been doing well, too.  He was 7 weeks this past Sunday, and he just continues to bless our family.  He is awake more these days, more fussy on occasions than he has been in the past (but still really easy), and cuter every minute!  We just love him.




So, that’s it for now.  Hopefully soon we can update you on what we’ve got going as a team here.  If you want to pray for us, we would love specific prayers for the people we are hoping to have in our home soon for a weekly Bible Study.  That is just one thing going on, but Mark C. and Justin and I are working on getting a neighborhood study going.  Also, we’ve begun meeting as a team to practice singing many different songs in Spanish.  We’ve enjoyed our time, laughed at ourselves a lot, and look forward to having Peruvians join us in our worship time soon!

Divine Day

God has blessed me with a wonderful day so far.  Cailyn and I had a great time this morning getting into lots of things while Corban (yes, once again) was sleeping.  First, we made different pictures for the end of popsicle sticks like the sunbeam my mom made for Cailyn while she was here.  It was great.  Cailyn LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to cut things.  Well…paper.  If we just gave her an old coloring book or scrap paper, she would cut away for like an hour if we let her.  She is constantly saying, “I want CUT!” (“i want to cut”).  So, she traced on my dotted lines, and I assisted her cutting each shape out.  Then, we glued them each at the end of a popsicle stick.  I then put contact paper around each one to preserve them, and we sang songs pertaining to each one.  Here’s what they look like, and with each one, she would hold it up and wave it around as we sang a song that had to do with that picture (i.e. for the heart we sang a song like “God is Love”, for the Jesus we sang a song like “Jesus love me”, etc.)  We laughed a lot and had a great time.


My mom also brought a growth chart with her, and we JUST now got it hung up.  Cailyn loved seeing how tall she was.  She’s really into being tall…not sure why.


(yes, she does have her mickey mouse socks on with this outfit…in case you were wondering)

After cutting and gluing, we had fun making chocolate covered pretzels.  Messy, but delicious!



and after this, she washed her hands played in the water while I made her lunch…you might notice the ENTIRE front of her shirt is soaked.


so, yes, we had a great morning, and now BOTH of the kids are sleeping.  That’s what topped it off for me!


Corban was 5 wks. old on Sunday, so I took some pictures.  Cailyn wouldn’t have it for me to stop at taking pictures of just him.  Poor Corban.  Anyway, here’s what I got…

5 weeks old!


And this next picture is what I got when I told Cailyn to give Corban some kisses for the picture.  We’ll work on it…


Finally, the next picture I thought was funny because they each sort of have the same look on their faces.  Most of the time this is what Cailyn does when we ask her to smile, and that’s all Corban can do for now..haha



Last, but NOT least.  Our teammates, the Fletchers, found out that due to the position of their soon-to-be-born baby boy, their Dr. wants to deliver him on Monday!!!  We are so excited for them that they will be welcoming a sweet boy soon.  They have had an incredible (in all senses of the word – good and not so good) last year, and we’re so glad to be welcoming another baby into their family!  Please pray that all goes well on Monday.