This week was a week of blessings.

First off, a team from the States offered to put down our laminant floor in our downstairs!

The finished product!

They did an AMAZING job. It wasn’t that the floor was too hard for Brian to do on his own. The problem was that Brian has no TIME to do it! He’s been working on building kitchen cabinets and doors since we got back in March and I still have no doors! He just doesn’t have the time to just take a week and only work at the house. It just doesn’t work that way. So, yes, he very easily could’ve done our floor, but instead of having an unliveable house for two days, we would’ve had an unliveable house for two weeks! This was a huge, huge blessing. Not only did they do the floor correctly, but the one who did the trim (who did most of the floor, actually) is such a perfectionist that he didn’t like the trim in the store, so he made his own. The trim around our kitchen, stairs, and bathroom is all made from scratch and my word, it’s amazing. Fits like a glove. Such a blessing.

Brian and I were also privileged to be able to get to know better the leader of this same group. He comes to Peru every year (or two, depending on his schedule). He’s a pastor of a church in North Carolina and so he comes to bring a work team, help with the work, but then do a lot of preaching. The last time he was here, he went straight to Iquitos (this was the two week trip that Brian made two years ago) so I never met him. This time, he spent two weeks in Iquitos and a week here so I got to know him. He and Brian bonded and I would even go so far as to say they became best of friends. We were able to share with him things that we don’t share with anybody, not our families, our closest friends, or our co-workers.

My husband, on the left; Jon right next to him.

The blessing was that we feel we have found a new friend – a good friend. A friend who really understands what we’re going through; someone we can share things with, without fear of being judged (or judging others); someone who listens without offering loads of advice in return; and someone who’s “been there, done that.” You just do NOT realize how badly you need someone like that in your life until you’re on the mission field and you are A.L.O.N.E. Don’t get me wrong; we have friends here. Good friends. But, you have to admit, there are always things you only share with your spouse or someone outside of where you work, right? Well, we don’t have that. In anybody. God finally provided someone – at just the right time – who is that for us. Friday night when we said goodbye to Jon, all 3 of us cried. Praise God for email, that’s all I have to say. What a blessing in a new friendship.

This week was also the open house for the Bible school. I don’t know, maybe I just missed out on enough of the behind-the-scenes to be disillusioned, but I truly felt like this year went off better than the last two years we’ve been here. I felt like Jon’s messages were just perfect for the audience and age group. You could feel the Holy Spirit moving during the chapel sessions, which is an awesome feeling. About 13 received the Lord as Savior and about 17 dedicated their lives to full-time missions (out of around 80 who came). Absolutely wonderful.

It was such a blessing to be able to lay hands on and pray for the kids who were dedicating their lives to missions. I remember being the one dedicating myself; now I am the one praying over them. My, how times have changed.

I’m blessed this week to have a baby who turned 10 months old! I can’t believe she’s already that big. I was reminiscing this week about this time last year. I missed out on a lot of CAI because of being hugely pregnant and not really wanting to be up walking around constantly. I honestly don’t even remember CAI!! Maybe I did the concession stand?! I really don’t remember. Awful, huh? Life really revolved about the pregnancy last year. And now, she’s almost walking on her own! I can’t believe it. Time goes by in a flash.

My friends here have been asking about Elena’s birthday party in September. Here are my thoughts so far:

  • We’re doing a “Ladybug” theme since her nickname is “Elenabug” and has been since I was pregnant.
  • A friend a week ago sent me this gorgeous green dress with white flowers and an “e” on the front so that is now Elena’s party dress. =) I think I will find or make her little antennae, though, like on a headband.
  • I would like to have different bug-type antennaes/headgear for the kids to wear as they come to the party.
  • I’m going to make “Cone Cupcakes” (from allrecipes). Basically, it’s cupcakes you bake inside ice cream cones and then decorate to look like ice cream cones! I’m planning on just doing enough for the children.
  • For the cake, I’d like to either make or have made one in the shape of a ladybug and then have regular sheet cakes to pass around.
  • My one and only idea for games was originally “pin the dots on the ladybug” but that might be too easy so it’ll take some re-working!
  • I want butterflies and ladybugs and bumblebees hanging from the ceiling somehow. Maybe a piΓ±ata of some sort of bug?
And that’s it. A friend sent me an idea for invitations. You take a lollipop and attack the invitation to it in such a way that that the head of the ladybug is the round lollipop and then the body is attached to the stick and the wings open so you can read the invitation inside it. So cute! Anyway – it’s a work in progress! Gotta get going on it, though, since it’s right around the corner!
My poor little Ladybug is suffering through hives right now, though. Well, I shouldn’t say “suffering.” They seem to be bothering me WAY more than they’re bothering her. I let her eat less than healthy food yesterday while we were out and she reacted to something she ate within that first hour and it’s gotten progressively worse since then. Poor baby had poofy cheeks and bright red legs, swollen hands and bumps all over her ears. I’m struggling with blaming myself for letting it happen. I feel like I should’ve listened to my “mom-instinct” and not let her eat it all. But, I caved to peer pressure. We were out with Brian and then three girls from the States and if I do anything remotely protective, all four of them would laugh at me, tell me I’m being unreasonable, or make me feel stupid for caring about my child. So instead of putting up with that, I let it go. And now I’m sitting here going, “What did I do?! We’re an hour from the clinic if this gets worse and she can’t breathe!!” So, pray for my daughter. And pray for my peace of mind.
Other than that, I feel very blessed tonight. Good way to end July 2011. Hope you are feeling the same way.Β  Β  Β 

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I am pretty convinced that July went by far faster than any other month this year. I went to update our ministry blog and realized it had been almost three weeks and I thought it had only been a few days ago! Ridiculous! However, it’s a good busy – the kind that could keep up all year long and I’d be okay with that. This is why we’re here; I’m definitely not going to complain.

School is out for a little over a week-long vacation. The last week of July is vacation in Peru for independence day. Plus, here at camp, we have an open house from Wednesday to Saturday so we’re all busy with that. School is going really well, but whenever I look at my tasks for next year, I get so overwhelmed I can barely handle it. I’m focusing on keeping my mind on this year and not worrying about next year. It’s not going to change anything anyway.

My little girls finished a big Usborne book on World Animals this week. It has been their science class so far this year and we’ve all really enjoyed it. They studied each continent individually and then a variety of animals within each continent and how they live in their unique climates.

My older two turned in their second book report of the year yesterday. They had to make book jackets, present the picture, read the two paragraphs they wrote, and tell if they recommended the book to others or not. They did a great job! My 4th grader is becoming much more confident in her English skills and it’s great to see her stand with confidence in front of the room and present her project.

August means two of my students will be traveling to Ecuador with their parents for three weeks of camps they’re putting on for a church up there. I’ll miss them! But, at the same time, this will give me a wonderful opportunity to work one-on-one with two who are really struggling. I will be teaching each subject for my 4th grader, giving her more of a “school” feeling instead of a “homeschool” feeling. I will also be working alone with my 1st grader that’s dyslexic. My goal this week, during vacation, is to come up with a good gameplan as to what to do with her and how to help her advance a little bit.

We’ve really enjoyed hosting a sixteen year old from PA this month. It helps that she has a wonderful disposition, a servant attitude, and is very sweet! Such a good representation of her parents. She was a huge help to me in the classroom for two weeks and it made me realize how badly I need a full-time helper! This week, she’s been in Iquitos and we’ve really missed her! The house has been quiet. She comes back in the morning and we’re looking forward to having her with us for her last week in Peru.

I love this picture. They were having so much fun together. I doubt they even missed me! πŸ™‚

Elena’s been sick for a good two weeks now, if not a little longer. I can’t remember when it started. We all kind of got a cold about the same time. I thought I was going to get an ear infection the way it was heading. Brian and I were both pretty miserable for awhile. Elena is now just a snotty, sneezy, goopy, drippy mess! I know for a fact it’s just a cold, there’s no signs of infection, but you still just feel awful for her. You can tell she’s miserable; she doesn’t sleep well and she cries when she coughs in the night. Everyone here is telling us to take her to the doctor to get an injection or antibiotics and Brian and I are terrified of doing so. She’s way too young for such strong medicine! Peruvians have notoriously bad health and we are getting more and more convinced that it starts when they’re young. Bad diets when women are pregnant, bad diets for babies when they’re just beginning to eat, medicine that’s too strong for their age, medicine that’s too strong for nursing mothers, wrapping them up too warm constantly so their bodies can never regulate their own body temperature – kids are sick almost constantly here, especially in winter. I wish I knew more about medicine in order to give better advice. Right now, if I give advice it’s just, “Oh, you’re American and that’s just how Americans do it. But, we know we’re right.” The problem with two-thirds world medicine is that it LOOKS advanced – giving babies nebulizer treatments and injections to get over colds is something we never, ever do in the States, therefore it looks like Peru is ahead in medical advancements. But, in reality, neither of those things are GOOD for babies and can cause health problems down the road. So, we’re stuck here nursing a baby who is just miserable, knowing that even if we took her to the doctor it wouldn’t make any difference, but being judged by everyone we’re around because we’re NOT taking her to the doctor. Another example – the girl who babysits for Elena had a horrible migraine three days ago. Her plan? Take pain killers and then, even after the migraine was gone, go to the local clinic on Saturday to get more medicine. Why? It was just a migraine and it was gone the same day! Definitely different.

Regardless, Elena’s sick. She’ll get better; we just have to keep letting her rest, filling her with fluids, wiping her nasty nose, and keeping her elevated at night. Who knows? Maybe in the end this will just result in Tooth #7!

Well, laundry’s about done. I should go wake up the family before they sleep too much and we’re up all night! I also plan to make cookies for a newly pregnant friend who’s been craving them and doesn’t know how to make them. We also need cookies in our house for dessert tonight (guests coming over) and to go with Brian’s “coffee hour” this week with the guests. So… gotta go!

Housekeeping A – Z.

Stole yet another idea from a fellow blogger. Can you tell I’m a mom with little time on my hands for creativity of my own?

Aprons – Y/N?
Not big into aprons. I own 3 and about the only time they get used is Christmas when I’m doing a lot with baking and flour and such. I do like aprons; I just rarely remember to put one on!
Baking – Favorite thing to bake?
Anything sweet! Brownies, cookies, cake… I like trying new recipes for old favorites. Currently, we’re enjoying a super easy recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies and my mom’s brownie recipe.
Clothesline – Y/N?
I don’t technically have a clothesline, but I do have drying racks! We don’t own a dryer (and probably won’t for many, many, many years to come) so this is the only way to dry anything. Now that I do that, though, I think I wouldn’t own a dryer again by choice. I like drying clothes “naturally.”
Donuts – Ever made them?
Just with my mom when I was a kid. Not interested. I just remember all the grease from childhood and I’m not interested in cleaning that up afterwards now that I’M the mom!
Everyday – One homemaking thing you do everyday?
Make dinner. ? Feed my baby all homemade, natural food. Does that count?
Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freezer?

Nope. Never have, probably never will. I’m not a freeze all my food/store it all up kind of person.

Garbage Disposal – Y/N?
Loooooved my garbage disposal that I had years ago in South Dakota! Now, obviously, I don’t own one. And that’s okay. I don’t miss it, to be honest.
Handbook – Y/N?
Handbook? Like, a phonics handbook? Um, I’m assuming since I’m not sure what this is referring to that, no, I do not have a handbook.
Ironing – Love it or hate it?
Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate! I have not owned an iron in 10 years and the one I owned, I lent out to a roommate and never got back and I never missed it! I buy clothes that need not be ironed and I have a wrinkle-free spray I put on the ones that get wrinkly. Other than that, my philosophy is: it’s gonna get wrinkled anyway once you sit in the car for 45min to go to church. Why add another thing to my never-ending to-do list? Especially since I HATE it so much?
Junk Drawer – Where is it?
Upstairs in my bedroom I have a big bookcase with a door on the bottom that locks. Everything random somehow ends up in there.
Kitchen – Design and decorating?
It is still a work in progress! Currently I have: off-white tiles with orange swirls, a countertop that’s all swirly (can you tell I’m tired? I’m having a horrible time describing anything!), and Brian is currently making me new shelves! I’m painting the cabinets and the doors (that aren’t on yet) a nice burnt orange. I just have blinds for the windows. My newest addition are fun melamine plates that are multi-colored stripes.
Love – What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Cooking. I love to cook. I love trying new recipes, making stuff from scratch, inventing new things. I love it. I’d spend way more in the kitchen if I had more time to spend in the kitchen.
Mop – Y/N?
Only my bathroom floors and kitchen floor are currently mop-able (the rest of the house is still plywood and it would ruin the floor if it got wet).
Nylons – Wash them by hand or in the washer?
I haven’t worn nylons in years. Probably about as long as it’s been since I’ve ironed. Oh wait. I own knee-highs. haha! shhh… don’t tell anyone. And those do get thrown in the washing machine because handwashing is right up there with ironing.
Oven – Do you use the window or open it to check?
Both. Normally open it. My window isn’t all that great!
Pizza – What do you put on yours?

whatever cheese is handy, homemade sauce, sauteed onions and peppers, pineapple, tomatoes, ham… [not all at the same time, mind you πŸ™‚ ]

Quiet – What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Blog, email, and rarely read a good book.
Recipe card box – Y/N?
Absolutely! It was one of the first things to be packed three years ago. None of my books made it, just the box.
Style of house
Two stories, not very big. Cozy, room for guests, lots of natural light.
Tablecloths and napkins – Y/N?

Placemats and paper towels… when I remember to buy them! I would love a tablecloth, but they’re about $30 here and I’m just not willing to spend that.

Under the kitchen sink
It’s all open under the sink so that is currently where we’re storing our bottles of water and extra soda, out of little baby fingers.
Vacuum – How many times a week?

No vacuum here! I can’t imagine vacuuming in all this dust! It’d have to be done at least once a day, if not more. Our electricity just doesn’t hold up for a vacuum like you would have in the States and I have no desire for anything carpeted down here.

Wash – How many loads do you do a week?
Oh man, at least 6! The problem is that I run out of room to hang it all out to dry, especially in the winter. Currently, both racks plus the sock rack are full, along with Elena’s crib sides and the banister. And I have two loads left. sigh.
X’es – Do you keep a list of things to do and cross them off?
Absolutely! A day planner and 3 calendars keep this house and school running.
Yard – Who does what?
Our backyard is now all rocks, like a patio, since grass can’t grow back there, so that’s low maintenance. πŸ™‚ We just bought sod literally two weeks ago and that’s Brian’s baby. He waters it every night, unless we’ve had lots of rain. I have pretty flower bushes in the front yard. Also Brian’s thing. Everything green I’ve ever tried to take care of has died a slow and painful death.
ZZZ’s – What is your last homemaking task for the day?
Dishes or putting laundry away.

July 2011
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