Saturday, July 31, 2010

pimp my taxi

I can't believe I didn't write about this sooner. I forgot about it for a while, which in itself is hard to believe.

Eric and I found the perfect date night.

Last week we went with one of the guys that also works with Youth World to get our blood tests done, in order to get our drivers licenses. That was quite an adventure in itself, but I'm just not even going to waste my time right now writing about that part.... Because the best part was the taxi ride there.
This picture was taken with Eric's cell phone and does very little justice to the beauty of the sweetest taxi on the roadways of Quito.
This guy had pretty much everything made to blink, sparkle and glow. You can probably make out the little disco ball hanging from the rear view and silver skulls on the ceiling with glowing blue eyes. But honey, that is only the beginning. Mini motorcycles that glow, those little crackly lightningy type thingies (close to the technical name, I'm sure) and I could go on.
So now Eric and I want to go on a date, at night of course - so we can get the full effect of all the interior illumination - in this taxi. Got to be the most romantic idea EVER.
Can't wait for it.
And I know you're jealous!

creating.... or not

So I am finally working on a few ideas that are in my brain - at least the ones that I have stuff for (so no, not a lot). And occupying the kids at the same time. Love that.
So what do you do when you have about 2.7 million coffee filters (and you don't drink coffee, and even if you did, they aren't the right filters for your coffee maker.....hey - they just got left in the house), bored children and a whole lot of time? You make butterflies.
The girls (and sometimes the boy) have been busy painting butterflies for Lucy's room. Planning to make some sort of a mobile or something. She wants me to stick them on the walls - an idea which has some merit - but, well, I'm kind of into hanging things right now.... that is foreshadowing to another project in the works. More on that later.
Anywho, I'll put up a picture some day when it is done.

I've had a good many sewing projects that I have planned - mostly curtains and nonsense like that but some things more fun too. So today I started one of the fun little things - one that I could do with just stuff lying around the house. An old t-shirt of Lucy's and a little bit of left over black fabric from some theatre curtains I made. Its a little throw pillow for Maddy's room.
I finished hand sewing some ruffly flowers and was ready to machine stitch the pillow only to discover that somehow, in our move, I lost the power cord to my beloved sewing machine.
I've looked everywhere. Everywhere. And since we really don't have much stuff, it didn't take that long to look. And I looked again.
No cord.
I haven't cried about it yet, but believe me, I want to.
I love sewing.
I have so many things I want to make (and some we things we do need) but that is not gonna happen for a while.
Sadness. Lots of sadness.
Needing a miracle... well, okay, not needing...just wanting one really bad.

first pedicure

I had my first pedicure in Ecuador today.
I think I might have been better off going to an actual business for it and paid the big bucks. But since I am too cheap for that, Lucy took care of my pampering needs.
Beautiful job, yes?
I followed with a little touch up.
My payment was to do her toes and fingers as well.

That burned up a good 15 minutes. Now to figure out how to keep them entertained for the rest of the 13.75 hours we are awake.

Friday, July 30, 2010

nature in our yard

We have two hummingbird feeders off the side of our house - bought them from the previous owners. So glad we did.
We have had a regular flow of hummingbirds that we get to watch. Cade has counted 25 visiting in the last few days.
This picture is of a long-tailed slyth that visits - absolutely beautiful but terribly shy. It has been pretty tough getting a picture of him, and this one doesn't do his beauty any justice. The long tails seem to be a lot more cautious and fly away quickly when we come near.
We are loving watching them... And maybe they will entice our bird/hummingbird loving parents (my dad and Eric's mom) to come for a visit!!??
The kids picked a bunch of flowers from our yard the other day too. These plants were also purchased from the previous owners. They are so lush and beautiful - I just hope I can keep them that way. I'm not much of a green tends to run a little more on the charcoal edging toward black side.
Whatever the case, as of right now, we are enjoying them, even if they might be temporary!
There are lots of familiar varieties but some that I have never seen before either. The white and pink one in the middlish of the bowl is really cool but I have no clue what it is. I might get kicked out of my family (not immediate - Eric and the kids don't have a clue or care) for not knowing so I better ask or look it up some time soon.
We are so grateful to be able to enjoy a lot of God's creation right here at our house. It is a pretty cool thing.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

way too weak

Remember what I just wrote?
God please take over.
My kids are loosing it and I am right there with them.
First thing this morning I was awaken to screaming - as usual. So much screaming, in fact, the the neighbors in the apartment beside our building started looking out of their windows at us. Lovely - the stupid, noisy gringos who can't control their kids. Okay - that is just a problem with my pride... That isn't so important.
Now another MAJOR meltdown. I'm sure everyone around us thinks I am completely abusing my children (well, two of them) and that I am the worst parent in the world. Okay - pride again. Forget that.
How can children scream so much?
The amazing thing is how I screamed so little - totally a God thing. I managed, only because of Him, to pretty much keep my cool. If it was on my own strength, I probably would have squeezed them (one in particular) till their brains popped out.
The comical thing is that one delightful (said sarcastically) kept screaming "I want daddy, I wish daddy were home!". That is pretty hilarious. I mean, I want him home too, and I know the kids miss him, but seriously. If daddy were home, their punishments would definitely be more severe. Do they not have a clue how good they have it with mom here?
Yes, definitely comical.

It is so hard to know how much to give and take right now. They are under a lot of stress; so many changes. The battles, however, are the same ones as always....just a little more intense and definitely more frequent. I can't really blame them. They can't really get away from each other (and I certainly can't get away from them either). Life is really hard for them right now. But sheesh - they still need to be held accountable for how they treat each other right?

Right now they are chilling out in their rooms separately - the one main perpetrator is stuck in my room with nothing to do - for 55 minutes. It started out with 20 minutes but increased by 5 minutes with every complaint or scream.

I am so thankful for God's grace, wisdom and strength. I am weak, He is strong. I am foolish, He is wise.

2 Cor. 12:9

Two days ago, during my short quiet time before bed, I read this in my "Praying God's Word Day by Day" by Beth Moore. It, by the way, is a wonderful guide and help.... highly recommend.

She says "Our bridegroom sometimes leads us to difficult places, but we can trust Him to have purpose in our stay and never to forsake us."
The we pray through Ps. 107:13, Ps. 57:2-3, 2 Cor 12:9 and Heb 13:5. Such a comfort.
My favorite: His power is made perfect in my weakness.
His power is really being perfected right now, because I am feeling awfully weak. Sometimes, when realizing that the spiritual is so much more important than the physical, I am so thankful for my weaknesses. It simply means that I finally get out of the way and God can be that much stronger and present in me.... as long as I step aside (something I am not very good at, however!).
I just want my weakness to exploit His strength. If I am going to be so powerless in all of the struggles that I am going through right now, I may as well do what makes the most sense: throw my hands up, admit that I am no good at any of this, and let Him take over. And then? Success. More than I could imagine or understand.
The main problem: I keep wanting to figure it out on my own. And then? Failure.
Lord, please, please help me to call it quits and depend on You.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

pepino dulce

Fruit #5: Pepino Dulce

First off, please excuse the blurry photo. No, I was not drunk or anything horrid like that, just off my game, so to speak!

So, pepino is cucumber in Spanish, dulce is sweet - so yup, this is a sweet cucumber. How it is related to a cucumber, I have no clue. Except that the skin and flesh have a similar feel and/or texture. From there, who knows?
This lovely little fruit is about the size of a large apple, but more oblong in shape. The flesh is firm with a mild flavor that sort of is a combination of honey dew, cantaloupe and cucumber (okay, so it is a little more like a cucumber...). It smells wonderful. The odd thing is that it has a mildly bitter aftertaste which made Maddy label it as "gross, disgusting and nasty". I think she must have just brushed her teeth before she tried it, because, other than the slight aftertaste, it is really quite good. I found that it made quite a fine addition to the ever popular fruit salad.... problem is that after Maddy's fatal review, none of the other kids would try it, as much as they love fruit salad.
Oh, the power of being the eldest child.

Just a side note: You must be praying for the rooster. It is still alive and well. Have not had the energy to hunt as of yet.

a thing of beauty

When you are down, when you are lonely, when all else is seemingly going wrong, bake a pie. It is truly a thing of beauty.

Good food, it seems, well, at least for now, is a thing of the past. I've discovered that most of our favorite family recipes are needing huge adjustments for lack of needed ingredients, be it Worcestershire sauce, molasses, cheese that doesn't melt properly, chocolate chips or simply margarine instead of butter. As mentioned before, the altitude is another big factor in all of this food-making business.
But then there is pie. Ah, pie.
I love pie. Eric says I am a pie snob (actually the whole category of desserts-snob....I think I mentioned that before...). I come from a long line of pie-snobs. It is because we are good at it. It must be in the genes.
And I have discovered that pie is one of few things that is not affected by the altitude. And it is one of few favorite things for which I have all needed ingredients (unless I want to make peach, cherry, or something so ridiculously yummy like that).
So right now - at least for yesterday and today, my pie is the most beautiful thing I see.... and taste.

Several people have asked to see picture of our house. Well, pictures, maybe even a video, will come sometime, but for now, you can take a look at this map, drawn by Cade. He said he drew it so that we wouldn't get, it is definitely not that big, but he just wanted to help out.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

tuna and rooster

Fruit #4: Tuna

Also known as prickly pear (although I'm not totally sure what that is all about since it didn't feel very prickly to me....and it tastes nothing like a pear). The outside is softish and here, at least, is green. The inside is a beautiful reddish orange. My lack of photography skills does not do the fruit justice. Very sad.
Now, I think the one I chose was a little overripe and so not the bestest. However, it still was a rather tasty treat. Slightly reminiscent of
watermelon in both texture and flavor. A little more dense and a little more mild in flavor. The little teeny black seeds that are scattered throughout are very very hard - don't even bother chewing. Since they are so small, just swallow them down. And hey - they just give you more fiber, right?
This would be a really good fruit to make some yummy batido or juice with.
Definitely recommended.

Now, on to the rooster.
The rooster is not a fruit. The rooster lives in our neighborhood somewhere. I know not where, but I will find him.
And he could even be enjoyable - crispy fried and served on a platter. As of right now, however, he is not being enjoyed AT ALL.
Mr. Rooster does not know his job.
Mr. Rooster cock-a-doodle-doos, in Spanish (sounds VERY much like the english roosters) at all hours of the day. Maybe it is mating season? Anyway, it doesn't really matter what season it is because it is extremely aggravating. Now I admit, I exaggerate. He doesn't speak, so to speak, at all hours of the day. He generally (okay, it has only been two nights) begins at 3:30 a.m...... no where near when the sun comes up..... and continues on until about 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. That rules out nap time and half of a solid night sleep time.
You may suggest going to bed earlier and then just getting up early, like so many of my morning-type-person friends do. One problem. I am NOT a morning person. Especially at 3:30 a.m. morning person.
Now combine this with the party that went until about 2:00 a.m. last night.... Please put on your thinking caps and calculate about how much sleep I got.
1.5 hours.
So yes, I am a grumpy bear today.
Tomorrow might be worse.
Please pray for me.
Better yet, pray for my children.
Even better yet, pray for the rooster.
His days are numbered.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

first night

Here we are. We are in our house.
Last night was our first night (which makes this one coming up our second - I'm very good with math!).
The picture is of the sunset from our kitchen window - the colors were amazing. God seems to be kind of crazy-good with colors like that!
We went a little nutty with our first meal in our new house and did bbq hot dogs. I know, wild, right? But they were quite fabulous. And Eric bought bacon so that I could have a "whistle dog" (A&W... ring a bell for anyone else? They are my personal fav.)
After dinner we headed up to our roof and made smores. Yes, that's right, our roof. We have roof access and it is a most fabulous space..... quite large and will be great for parties (kind of like the one going on as I type this - the neighbors are having it... weren't invited - how rude - but it pretty much feels like we are right there anyway. live band and the whole thing... pretty rockin'). Anywho, we love it up there and on a clear day we can see two of the three volcanos perfectly... I'm sure that will be posted later.
We bought the fire pit and plastic chairs from the previous renters and are so glad we did. Great place to hang out for us.
And a new discovery... since they don't have graham crackers here, Eric bought something that looked similar but ended up tasting a little more like a ritz. Yummy!! The salty butteriness is great with the sweet.
Just a side note, the party going on right now? Just turned up the music and have some guy on the mic calling out stuff... and singing along. Frightening. I'm thinking a little alcohol is involved. Okay, a lot. It's pretty entertaining.

Excuse me, gotta head out to the roof and check it out.....

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I am really wrestling. I have been for a while but it just came up again today.
Wrestling with materialism.

When we first felt that God was wanting us to go on the mission field, I felt so glad that I would be away from such a materialistic culture. I get so tired of it. Tired of seeing all of the striving for "stuff" and sometimes, too often, wrestling with it myself. I was excited to be free of so much of that. I looked forward to living more simply, having less and not feeling pressured to have more and have everything perfect. I really believe that Christ can work and speak more clearly to us and with us when we are not so distracted by stuff.
Costa Rica was good. We had a very small house, in pretty rough shape, nothing pretty to decorate with - bare bones, tight space and definitely simple. It often was a little too much that way, for my preference.... I longed for a little more comfortable furniture (that was the biggest thing), a little more space where we could get away from each other when needed and a few pretty or fun things to give the house some warmth and charm. But the simplicity was wonderful!
When getting going to move to Ecuador, a family contacted us to see if we wanted to rent the house they were leaving. Our three most important desires were met in this house: four bedrooms, low rent and walking distance to our ministry. So we took it.
Now we are here and we know that is it in a wealthyish neighborhood. It is bigger than we expected (not ginormous, but a decent size), much bigger than our house in Costa Rica and really quite nice.
But now I feel guilty.
And I am struggling with materialism again.
My creative mind is abuzz with ideas to decorate and make our house fun and homey. I want to go and spend money to make curtains and pillows and stuff (even though it is pretty hard to find some of that stuff here!). I want to have a nice table made for our family.
How much of this is okay?
How much of this is too much?
I've been reading Romans 8 (and 7). How much is my sinful nature involved here? Or how much of it is just my God given desire for beauty?
Life would be harder living in the jungle, but life would also be easier.
When I thought of being a missionary I had much more of the living-in-a-hut-type-missionary in mind - the jungle type. Or at least not a nice house, in a nice neighborhood. I thought much more of "suffering for Jesus" in the materialistic sense. I know that some people discredit missionaries who are not doing this or who are not missionaries to "unreached people groups". It hurts and is frustrating when we believe that this is where He led us to, even when we were willing to go elsewhere.

I guess the suffering we are doing is more in the language, culture and really, really missing family and friends... but it just doesn't feel like enough. Yet I know that isn't want Christ calls everyone to do. And I guess He hasn't called us to do that, at least not right now. And, more so, we don't have to earn our salvation by going to where is seems like we would suffer more. I believe we have followed Him here, even to the house we are in. Maybe we made a mistake or assumption. I don't know. What I do know is that right now, I need to get over my feelings of guilt, trust that He has directed us and will direct us and not worry about the judgement of others. We are accountable to Him. To follow His will for our lives. To live where He wants us to live, to serve where He wants us to serve....
And that is the very very best thing for us.

In the meantime, I'll still wrestle.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Fruit #3: granadilla

Also known as "snot fruit" - an apt description as it looks a lot like snot. Sorry - but it's true!
A relative of passion fruit but with less tartness. Also related to the previously explored taxo.
The peel, from the picture, looks similar to an orange, but it is harder or more tough. The inside is a grayish green. There are many seeds which are individually encased in little pouches of juicy goodness.
Basically you rip the thing open and chow down on the insides. If you want to be delicate or appear to have manners, you could scoop it out with a spoon, but the reality is that most people just eat it right out of the shell.
The seeds give a lot of crunch and the flavor is mildly sweet, not salty at all - as one might suspect. Once again, my brilliant daughter describes it as "yummy".

Saturday, July 17, 2010

dishwashers are a blessing from the Lord

Dishwashers are a blessing from the Lord, even if you have to pre-rinse.

Today was a domesticish kind of day.
Laundry, cooking, baking, all that sort of stuff.

Maddy was sick and wanted soup. So I figured I'd whip up something, like chicken noodle. It is now called Chicken Loodle Soup. Why? because I made it with letter noodles - therefore l-oodles, and because Lucy, sometimes known as Loodle, had three bowls full for dinner and then asked for another one after having brownies for dessert.
The brownies, by the way, are scrumpdiliumpshious. I am making improvements in the baking department.
I also stewed a whole whack of tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are pretty expensive here, fresh tomatoes are really cheap... After spending close to a bajillion dollars on appliances, I figure I need to save where I can.
Now, you will notice in the picture that #7648 is present in the mixture. Yup, a critical error. While I did prewash (actually soak in this produce cleaning stuff we have to soak everything in), I neglected to remove the tomato skins before cooking.... including #7648. That would have been yummy.

After all this cooking and baking (other things also not mentioned), there were a whole heap of dishes. So not fun. It has been about a year since dishwasher days, and I'd go back in a heart beat. I love dishwashers. I love them so much I'd marry one.
Actually, come to think of it, I did marry one.

Oh, and by the way, I also took out the garbage. Eric would claim that is a first for me. He'd be wrong. It might have been the fourth. And it wasn't completely overflowing either. It is amazing what I take care of when he is not around. My lack of garbage-taking-out skills is my biggest flaw in wifery.
Probably my only.


Fruit #2: Pitahaya

Okay, maybe we will do a new fruit every other day....
How did Julie do it, everyday? Oh, yah, she didn't have four kids and wasn't getting settled into a new country.

Pitahaya is also known as dragon fruit. The exterior is thick, leathery, knobby and yellow. The interior is grey, firm, juicy with lots of little bitty black seeds. It is very similar in taste and texture to a kiwi, but it has a much milder flavor. Maddy so accurately describes it as "yummy". She is so good with words.
You basically eat the thing by cutting it in half and scooping out the middle. The exterior makes a nice sturdy bowl.
Quite delish.

You know, it is pretty amazing.
You grow up in area of the world, say Manitoba, Canada, and you think God is amazing because of all He created. Then you move to another part of the world, this time say, California, and you are amazed all over again..... See new types of trees, plants, foods, even people. Then He takes you to another place like maybe Costa Rica, and the fascination is increased by huge percentages. And finally you land up in an even more foreign environment, lets just throw Ecuador into the mix, and the amazement never stops. To say that it all just happened? Seriously? Maybe if you are smoking something you shouldn't....
But yes, I am amazed. Every time I turn around, for the last several years, there is a new type of flower, fruit, tree, animal that I have the privilege to discover. I am so blessed. God is absolutely incredible, isn't He?

Did you know they recently discovered a transparent frog in the jungles of Ecuador? Crazy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Maddy and I decided to try new fruits and blog about it. How very interesting, yes?

Our attempt will be to do a new one everyday.... you know, just like Julie and Julia. Sort of.
Okay, but it might not happen every day because Eric is gone, we don't have a car, so it isn't going to be easy to go and buy fruit. We'll see how it goes.

Fruit #1: Taxo
Seen at the left - Maddy sucking out the innards. No, she is not playing a new musical instrument.

This is our assessment and description of taxo:
sweetish, tart, gooey inside with a

strong earthy flavor and a strong bitter aftertaste... especially if chewing the seeds.
It leaves the same feel in your mouth as rhubarb, which means I will have zero success in getting Eric to eat it.
It smells like dirt.
It has a pretty orange gelatinous inside with lots of seeds about 5mm big. The skin is soft and about as thick as banana peel.
Also called the banana passion fruit...and it is related to passion fruit (will probably be featured another time).
You can eat it by cutting off the tip - like we showed here, and suck out the insides. It is often used for juice and sauces.
Maddy and I think it would be good to just squeeze the goo over a bowl of vanilla ice cream and go to town.
Okay, Maddy said fruit flavored ice cream, but I'd prefer vanilla.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mia's bad day

First problem - an infection seemed to hit Mia pretty hard today - a certain infection that you need to treat by drinking lots of cranberry juice... And I mean it hit hard.
So Eric drove his bike to three different stores to try to find said cure. Finally store number three has it - Cranberry juice not quite the real thing, and for a low, low price of $5.00 a small bottle. I guess it is better than going to the doctor and getting meds.
Mia hates cranberry juice.
Fortunately she seems to hate the pain more.
But, did I tell you that Mia hates cranberry juice? She does. She really does.

Second problem - longer story. Went to get more paint today - to paint the kitchen, add some stripes to Cade and Mia's room, and for Maddy to paint her bookshelf. The guy working the paint department directed me to black paint (for bookshelf). Thought nothing of it, bought the paint.
Oil based.
I suppose I am so used to buying gloss latex that I didn't even stop to ask.
I should have asked, or looked.... it said it plain as day on the can "aceite" (oil), but my brain didn't even register that a question was needed.
Now oil based paint is not easy to work with for someone who has painted often. Terrible to work with if you are young and inexperienced.... like my two daughters. Bless their precious hearts.
They spent the afternoon gagging over terrible fumes and trying to work with sticky paint. Then when it came to clean up, I neglected to tell them not to try to use water. Not too big a deal - except that I didn't buy any paint thinner or turpentine because I didn't realize about the oil basedness (that is a word, right?). Fortunately, Eric too the rescue (and the previous home renters). He found some paint thinner that was left. So off he goes with the girls to start cleaning up.
Then the can tipped, splashed and sprayed into Mia's eye. Being the great dad that he is, Eric scoops her up, runs her to the sink and tries to start rinsing her eye out. Notice that I used the word "tries". Mia is so completely freaked out and in pain that she fights for all she is worth, screaming and kicking. Pretty strong little thing for her size!
So Eric has her over the sink, horizontal, I've got her feet because she is kicking like mad, and we are both trying to calmly, but somewhat urgently, talking her into cooperating, while continuing to pour water over her eye.
Oh my, I wish we had video footage of that. It was awful. The other kids were freaking out.
Finally got the eye rinsed out good and proper - not without a lot of sweat and tears.

Her eye is okay.
Her emotions aren't.
But alas, she is asleep.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord for saving her eye.
I am so thankful that I can kiss my sweet child and hold her close to comfort her. Then I am so thankful that I can surrender her over to Jesus.

an angel kiss

The kids, mostly the middle two, are having a bit of a hard time. They don't say it so much, but I see it in the rawness of their emotions. Both are much more prone to tears over much less. It has been difficult to know how to parent. We want to be more sensitive to them because of what they are going through, but at the same time, still hold them to a level of responsibility for their behavior. We have been prayerful and of course, God is faithful. I feel like He has given us wisdom and some degree of patience - but believe me, we still need much, much more. I am trying to learn to fully surrender all parenting moves over to the Only Wise God.

Now for our youngest. She really seems to be her normal self. The problem is that her normal self is very difficult. She has been going through a stage - a very, very long stage. I say stage because that is parenting lingo, it is what everyone keeps telling us, and it has been true with the first three. This stage, however, has already been two years in the works and since we still haven't figured out how to deal with this stage, it has seemed much, much longer.
I think people want to run and hide when they see her coming.
Maybe that's just me.
Okay - I'm kidding. I love her to pieces and she does have some bright smiley moments.

One day in Costa Rica, my wonderful and wise-in-the-things-of-the-Lord friend Linda told me a story. Her and her husband were driving and it had been a rather sucky day. I believe there was rain, maybe even a terrible thunder storm, with deep haunting music in the background.... don't remember. Anyway, there was a spot on the windshield, right in the middle of her vision. She decided to focus on that spot and use it as a reminder of God and His goodness.
I probably messed up her story somewhat, but the point is, that later that day, God used her story to show me something about my "baby".

My baby girl has a very small freckle a little below the corner of her right eye. You can see it in the picture... the one posted above with her little rascally smirk. When I am talking to her - whether in play or in discipline, I see that freckle. I have declared it an angle kiss. God is using that freckle, just as He used the spot on Linda's windshield, to remind me of Himself and His goodness. If I am extremely frustrated with her, God uses that freckle to remind me of how thankful I am for this precious child. He slows me down and reminds me to pray for wisdom in dealing with her. He reminds me how often I blatantly disobey Him, and how loving and patient He is with me. And I need to be the same with her.

He is so good. The Ultimate Parent. The Ultimate Example.

My biggest problem is when I can only see the left side of her cute little face....

kings and queens

Not the type you are thinking of....

It has been two and a half weeks and Eric are still sleeping in the same queen bed together! That is an accomplishment.
For the past 14 or so years of our marriage, we have slept in a king, inherited from his dad. A glorious bed. But it ruined us. Since that time I don't know if we ever have shared a smaller bed. If we are at a hotel and there are two beds, we sleep separately. If the kids are with us, we each share with one of the kids. If there is only one available, one of us usually sleeps on the floor - yes, don't worry, usually it is Eric. We haven't taken it to the Ozzy and Harriet extreme of separate bedrooms....
But now, with really no other option as house sitters, we are SHARING.
I'm so proud of us. We're really growing up.
And we even decided, since we are now so mature, that we are not going to buy a king bed here.
We are buying two twins.

Don't worry - we are putting the two twins together to form a king! Better resale value on twins verses a king....and more economical!

By the way, saw bugs number three and four yesterday. Both small.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

diners club

Does anyone have a Diners Club credit card anymore? Seriously. Didn't they disappear with Fantasy Island? Or maybe since everything that was old is new again, it has made a resurgence. Like leg warmers.
Yesterday we went to buy a fridge and microwave. We were trying to both be responsible with money (difficult as appliances are so crazy expensive here) and fill the needs of our family. After much back and forth, debating and negotiating we finally made our decision.
Did we come home having made our purchase?
Why not?
Because we don't have the ever popular Diners Club card, of course.
Check your wallets people.... I would love to hear if anyone has one. We have a visa. We have a mastercard. We even have an american express (supposed to be used only for Costco). And don't they (or didn't they) have commercials saying how widely around the world they are accepted? Maybe in Asia, the Middle East and even the far reaches of Siberia. But no, Ecuador much prefers the good ol' reliable Diners Club.
How we didn't know this, I have no idea.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Saw my second bug today.
Very little.
How lovely.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

his best day ever

please read the following entry with a great deal of sarcasm....

Eric loved the other day. It was starting-to-paint-and-unpack-some-stuff-day. The kids have been all excited about painting their rooms (the youngest choosing a mere 9 colors for her wall colors....we are waiting until she can narrow it down a little). So we picked out paint and two days ago, started painting.
Eric loves painting. Basically it is one of his favorite ways to spend a day. I think it is the thrill of transformation and adding beauty and creativity. He could hardly wipe the silly grin off his face.... he just walked around, painted around, unpacked around simply BEAMING. It is hard to believe such a manly man could enjoy stuff like this so much.
This picture is of him helping out in the two middle kids' room. It was especially thrilling for him because the paint was super thin, for some reason (weird because the paint for our oldest's room was really thick - same brand, same finish. It also dried super fast and this thin stuff dried really slow... now exactly the quality paint I am used to). Because of this thinnest, he got to do two coats of painting - three in some areas. You have no idea how overjoyed he was. It was like he just got handed free tickets to the world cup and Germany was playing. Well, since he didn't get tickets, and since the Fatherland didn't quite make it, he got his thrill for the week by doing this. Sheer joy.
The even more exciting part? There still is one more bedroom to go.... and maybe, if I want to give him a super good day, the kitchen. That is what I am all about.... give, give, give.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I neglected to write about my first attempt at cookies.
I made chocolate chip cookies for the first time here three or four days ago. I brought the last of our chocolate chips along with us - just enough for one batch of cookies - from Costa Rica to here. Now, please realize that we could buy chocolate chips in Costa Rica, but they were pretty pricey. Here in Quito? No chocolate chips to be found. Anywhere. They don't exist. So - we knew it would be a sad thing, but we wanted a treat.
I knew that baking at high altitude was different but, alas, I did not realize how different. I used the same recipe that I have baked with for the past, oh, 35 years... My Auntie El's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie recipe from the Mennonite Treasury. Of course, it has been memorized for about 30 years now, so the book was not needed.
Okay, I'll just get to it.
They were terrible.
I wasted our last bit of chocolate chips making cookies that were awful. I should have taken a picture, but actually that wouldn't have mattered - they looked fine. But tasted like... Just horrible. They still managed to get consumed but probably only because everyone wanted to savor the chocolate.
So now I know. Only use high altitude adapted recipes or figure it out before any personal attempts.
Oh, and it is pretty tough, apparently, to find baking soda. Doesn't make it easier.

Perhaps it was a good lesson that God was teaching me in humility. I've always prided myself as a good baker. Eric has always called me a dessert snob. Maybe I needed to be humbled. Fortunately, He took it easy on me and only humbled me before my family. Eric took it upon himself to humble me before some friends by sharing the story.
I can get over that. They've been there.

Ah, Ecuador...

Yesterday we went to a hummingbird place with a wonderful family we are getting to know (basically, we love them). Well, I should say that this was the goal of the trip, but we didn't quite make it. Let's just say that road conditions did not allow for speedy travel, so after an hour and a half of driving we figured we would come up with a new goal. New goal: picnic lunch at Nono.... pictured here. We had packed a lunch and drove past this neat (as in "neat-o") little town on the drive out. We are in the town center - catholic cathedral in the background, with a nice parkish area right beside it. Pretty much every town is set up this way, it seems (in Costa Rica, too). I think we were a bit of a spectacle. Anyway, the dog in the picture belongs to someone in the town (hmmm, yes, a bit of an obvious statement...) and they were standing on the outskirts of the park area, calling the dog to come. The dog was enjoying the feeding frenzy a little too much to obey.
On the way home we encountered the situation pictured at the top. When we were driving out, we saw a few workmen on the "road", but thought nothing of it. On the way back, however, these same workmen were "fixing" the "road". The picture does no justice to reality. There was a fairly deep chasm, shall we say, with a mountain of dirt on the other side. Definitely impassable, even with a 4x4. So, we waited until they were done. They told us it would be about half an hour, and surprisingly, it was. They pulled the tractor off to the side and we inched (literally) by it, with a 60' drop on the other side.... and we were on our way. Not a situation we would find in North America.
While not what we might choose to have happen, it seems to be the Latin American way. And truthfully, in many ways, I prefer it. People just aren't in such a hurry here. You always see people just hanging out wherever, talking, relaxing and just enjoying being. Unless they are driving, no one is in a big hurry. Much better on the heart/blood pressure situations. Their priorities seem to be in better order. I can learn a lot here. I hope I do.

Monday, July 5, 2010

food, bugs, yawning and a new little light

The food in Quito? Its great. Very colorful. Looks amazing. The texture, however, is a little tough and the taste is pretty bland. At least the food that I have been served a great deal lately.
We are currently housesitting for a family on "home mission assignment" and they have a play kitchen loaded with play food. The kids are having great fun taking our orders and serving us a delightful assortment of plastic and velcro food. Good times!
One thing I am missing here is bugs. No millipedes, no cockroaches, no mosquitos. Life really stinks here. In fact, I have only seen one bug in my entire week and two days here. What kind of place is this, anyway? Okay, but seriously, it is so nice not having cockroaches climbing out of the kitchen cupboards, knowing that they have just crawled all over your dishes. Just a note... I often thought, back in Costa Rica, why did I bother putting clean dishes away? I should have just put them away dirty and then washed them right before we used them.
And yawning - doing a lot of that here in Quito. Its not really that I am so terribly tired. The fact is that I need more oxygen. Remember the title of this blog? The air is, indeed, thin. Eric and I were just laughing yesterday how we run up the stairs to our children arguing and we have to stop, bend over to gasp for breath, before we start dealing with the kids. So we burst into the room, only to fall over trying to get some air. Really effective. Apparently it takes several weeks to get used to the altitude so until that happens, our kids might just be running wild!
But one of those dear ones, our only and most precious son, is a "new little light". Two nights ago he wanted to pray and ask Jesus to forgive his sins and to become a Christian. A sweet, sweet moment.
So far, life is good in Quito.