Thursday, August 31, 2006

Changing Shop...

Looks like we will be changing locations of our coffee shop. You learn things as you go in all things in life, including opening up a business. The things we thought made our current location ideal have turned out ot have some negatives too. We are right on the corner - which we loved the idea of that - but along with it has come a lot of noise from the street, exhaust fumes from all the buses driving by, dust and dirt and occasional flooding since we are in the rainy season. Our landlord has expanded and built a little shopping plaza right alongside our current coffee shop. He offered us the option to change locations if we were interested. After some analyzing we think we are going to do it. The new spot is very close to our current location (less than half a block and in the same little plaza). It is upstairs (which seems to be the only downside because it is not as convenient as right off the street) - but the rent price is the same, the space is a little bigger, it has a glass door and windows all along the front, and still has a great view from the street. We believe that it will be quieter, cleaner, cozier, and provide an environment that will allow us to have the kids up there a little more often (they love to be at the coffee shop - but our current spot is wide open to a busy street and is pretty much impossible to contain 2 toddlers safely). So in the next week or so we will change things around. We feel like it is great timing to expand our hours also. We think we will have much more business as this plaza opens with 10 or so more businesses attracting people to the area. We ask for your prayers through this transition and for God to expand this ministry to introduce us to more people. Ultimately we pray for a chance to shine Jesus and to draw more to Him.

Random Kid Things

I have gotta say - my kids are so sweet. Yes, there are moments during our days where "sharing" does not happen very peacefully, but when they are playing together, and laughing together it is an awesome thing. We were recently talking to some friends of ours who are planning to have only 1 child. It has made me thankful that I grew up with siblings and that my boys have each other - they are learning some pretty major life lessons as they interact together.

Well, for some updates...

We no longer have a high chair around the table. Chase has longed to be a big boy like his brother and sit around the table. I resisted this step for awhile, but the chair needed cleaning so I gave him a trial run. He loves sitting like us. We had talked about buying a booster seat, but have learned that the old fashioned phone book trick is working great and saves us the money! So far, no accidental falls have occured so maybe we are good to go. Chase has been placed at the head of the table, which has kind of become our joke because he likes to dominate meal activity. I personally have enjoyed not having that big chair in the way!

Reece has been doing really well at school. Today is only his 5th day to go - but on his third day he jumped out of the van and grabbed his teachers hand with no tears, and has done so each day since. We are so proud of him. Him enjoying school has sure served as affirmation to our decision to send him! He is tired by the end of a day filled with spanish - but he is really having fun. He had homework for the first time on Tuesday - 3 little tracing assignments. He was thrilled. I am learning quickly that his new step of going to school is creating a new "homeschooling role" for me too. He was not content with doing only his school assigned work - I created 4 extra assignments and he was begging for more. Yes, I will remind him of this love for homework a few years down the line. Another cool thing is to hear him speaking spanish a lot more. I had not expected that to happen for several months - but after the first day he was trying to recall phrases and put together "quieres jugar" (do you want to play) when he was playing with Chase. The other day his teacher told us he said all of his colors in spanish. I knew he knew them but was happy to hear that he has the confidence to speak out loud in school.

Chase is slowly beginning to say more words too. It has been fun to watch how excited Reece gets when Chase repeats a word. Chase enjoys singing and so we have had quite a few laughs out of letting him fill in the blanks to "there once was a little boy ________, down by the babbling _______, etc.. etc. Okay - to everyone else - they hear nothing but sounds, but to a loving parents' ear - we hear - "Da-vid" and "brook".....he is getting especially good at the "round and around and around" part. And has totally nailed the "crash" where the giant comes a tumbling down!

The other day we had some friends, Gerardo and Dulce over. At one point Benjy and Gerardo ran down to the tienda and I ran upstairs to get Chase who was waking from his nap. When I came back downstairs, Reece was sitting on the couch beside Dulce, telling her stories from his favorite Bible and she was listening intently (she understands some english). He was explaining who Adam and Eve were and then skipped way on ahead to the wise and foolish builders. Of course, it made us missionary parents proud to see our son sharing the "good news" at his early age.

That's it for now - just thought I would share some stuff about our kids. We are really loving this stage of our lives!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Toddler Theology

Over the past few weeks, in our family discussions and "preparing for school" conversations with Reece, we have been reminding him that God is with us and goes with us and will be with him as he begins school, etc.. He would frequently comment on how he was soon going to go to school and God was going to go with him. Here are a few recent "Reece insights" that have made us smile, laugh, and have challenged us in the complex job of explaining God to a young child....

Several days ago in the bathroom. Benjy trying to explain the importance and logistics of going to the potty independently at school:

Benjy: okay Reece, when you hafta go potty at school, you don't need the teachers to wipe your bum when you go poop if you can learn now to wipe your own bum. Here is some toilet paper. Go ahead and try to do it on your own.

Reece: But if God is going with me to school why can't God wipe my bum.

In the van. Driving home from his first day of school yesterday, talking about how his day went...
Reece: So why didn't God go to school with me for real?
Me: Well, He was there with you Reece. Remember how we talked about how He lives in our heart and goes with us.
Reece: Ya, but why wasn't He there with me for real?

Ahhhhh, tough one.

Monday, August 21, 2006

We All Survived the Big Day!

Yes - Reece's first day of school has come and gone and we are all still okay! The reality of dropping our baby off at a foreign school was a big step for our family - but we are thankful to God that He takes care of He always faithfully does...

Reece came prancing down the stairs this morning at 6:45am - unexpectedly beating the alarm - and forcing his Mommy to wipe away the early tears that were caused by listening to an emotional song that was serving as a prayer for him today. He was quick to pull out all the books from his backpack that I was labelling the night before - checking that all was in place. He helped prepare breakfast (proudly cracking his first eggs!), played with Chase and got all ready in plenty of time for me to snap some cute pictures. As we got settled in the van he said with a hint of denial in his voice, "well, I am not going to school for a few months" (oops - and we thought we had prepared him sooooo well!). But we gently reminded him how much fun he was going to have. We arrived, said a prayer together and he hopped out - concerned that we had forgotten his all important and special backpack! He loaded it up on his back again and smiled as bravely as you could imagine as I snapped a few pics in front of the school door....

And then it all changed....

As we entered into the classroom he mustered up all the courage he could find to wave a greeting as he met his new teacher, Miss Anna. And then began to grow a little clingy as we hung up his backpack and he felt the inevitable about to occur. With a broken heart and lots of tears he asked why Daddy, Chase and Mimi couldn't go and prepare his suprise while I stayed with him at school all day. I kissed his head - and with all the courage I could muster - turned my back and walked out of the classroom - hearing his crying increase. We received reassurance from the secretary and other mothers that he would be fine....and we all sat in the van and shed our own tears. More than anything I felt like somebody had just punched me in the gut. My poor little boy - surrounded by spanish and what must have felt like total chaos to his little being. The morning passed extremely slowly - although we did feel better when we called and found out he had calmed down and was drawing with the other kids.

When we arrived at 1:15 to pick him up, we were so pleased to see him sitting at the table - intently working on a craft with the other kids. We watched him for a few minutes....I snuck the picture below and then we entered in. He smiled - but kept working hard - asking me if I would like to sit down beside him even though it was a little chair and maybe they had big chairs in the other room for me. :) He was very composed and very much enjoying his activity. When we asked if he was ready to come home, he got up and began to load up all his workbooks and supplies from the shelves. When I told him he would just be leaving his stuff at school for now - he replied with determination, "but I need it to do my homework." Well, to make a long story short - he was quite adamant that he needed homework, so I created a drawing assignment for him! (eager little beaver, eh?!) He refused to take off his uniform, talked off and on all day about his time at school and overall seemed very pleased with this step of his life! Praise God!


Reece with his teacher, Miss Anna - feeling much more confident now than a few hours earlier!

We celebrated with a little suprise for him and then headed out to meet his good friend Kate for banana splits! I am thankful for the opportunities I believe this experience will do in Reece's life. I am thankful for a husband who is such a good Daddy to Reece and shares so much love and concern in all things in ours sons life. I am thankful that Mimi was here to share the day with us. And I am thankful for all of your prayers. We are doing fine! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Grateful for Her Life

We have really enjoyed Mary Beth (my mother-in-law) being here with us over the past week or so. It has seemed like a long time since we have had quality time with her and it has been a blessing. Our conversations this week have been good - and recalling certain events in her life over the past years have called me to remember that we are blessed to have her in our lives today. She has overcome numerous trials - some of the most impressionable to me this week are that she has survived cancer twice since 1998. She shared some of her memories of battling it - physically and emotionally - and I just want to declare my gratitude that we have her here with us - strong and healthy. She is a beautiful person and an example to all of us in so many ways. We love and appreciate you Mary Beth/Mimi!

Preparing for School

Okay - so the countdown is on. Reece's first day of school will be on Monday. We have found a school that will accomodate our desire to allow him to go for only a couple of days a week instead of the typical full time Kindergarten that goes five days a week. He is just 3 years old and for where we are at in our thinking, we want to slowly move into the "school thing" and so we feel really glad that this school was willing to work with us. The school is about a 5 minute drive from our house. We went on Friday to get his little uniform and books and all that stuff. I was feeling (and still am and will for sure be on Monday and possibly days following)emotional about it all - but I have also been smiling a lot to see how excited Reece is. We went shopping for school supplies and the highlight for him was picking out his own backpack! He has already paged through his school workbooks (eager to begin working in them) and has showed us numerous times how he can load everything into his backpack and carry it all - feeling quite proud of how strong he is! I am having good childhood memories of this time of the year - as new school supplies was a big thrill for me - labelling everything, laying it all out on the living roon floor, packing it all up, etc.. etc.. So - I am happy to be able to be doing it all again with my little boy.

I think Reece will do well overall because he loves to learn! I think he will enjoy the routine, make new friends, learn spanish, etc.. My heart feels for him as he takes this step - but especially as he will be thrust into it in a different language. Please pray for his little heart on Moday morning - and pray for mine too! :)

I will post how the first day goes - pictures and all - so check back! Thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mimi's In Town...

I haven't been blogging much these days. Mimi (or Benjy's mom) is here and we have been enjoying our time with her! Reece bonded very quickly and is seeking her constant attention (poor Mary Beth, as the little guy can be rather persistent). She brought a neat little sticker/coloring book that has been quite the hit. And she will serve as moral support for us as we send our little one to school next week - more on that later.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wedding Weekend

We enjoyed a cultural weekend by attending a wedding in Tierra Blanca - a pueblo about 4 hours from here. Alfonso (who attends our house church) and his new bride D'amariz were married on Saturday. It was a beautiful wedding! D'amariz is Hilda's sister (Jorge and Hilda are leaders of our house church) so we were able to meet a lot of their family over the weekend. It was a neat experience and a great opportunity to experience Mexico! What a beautiful country! We were invited to eat breakfast with the family on Saturday morning before the wedding - the kids were thrilled to see the large area of space, the young litter of puppies (which got dragged all over by them), the cats, the chickens, turkeys, and the three goats! We were returned on Sunday afternoon for another family meal and faced a lot of questions from Reece about the whereabouts of the three goats. Benjy's response was that they were "on vacation" to avoid the explanation that they had been butchered and were boiling in the pot right there! We enjoyed the tasty goats in a traditional barbacoa meal. I think I was away watching the kids when Benjy was served a consume soup with all sorts of interesting body parts of those goats (hey, i am not complaining!). We also travelled to nearby Veracruz (along the Gulf of Mexico) to visit the port with all the huge ships - and even got to see an Aquarium - very fun!

I was reminded this weekend about the goodness of living with simplicity, enjoying family, and the blessings of love and watching a new marriage begin. Alfonso and D'amariz will be moving to Mexico City so we hope to get to know them even better.

The Boys

  "yes, we love each other...can't you tell!"

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