Thursday, December 13, 2012

Last Day of School

Today was Bailey's last day of preschool for the year and I had no idea that it was going to be so traumatic. For me, that is.  She was fine.  But she came home with this giant folder with all of her artwork from the past semester and it hit me . . . my baby's in SCHOOL.  Like, REAL school.  There was even a progress report inside; are you KIDDING ME!!!  Deep breath.  It's all going to be okay.

Front of her folder

So THAT'S why she said she painted her foot

Fruit from "healthy foods" week

Clown made of shapes

Her cute little hands!

Halloween art

Mr. Golden Sun and a butterfly

Furry pig? Pink sheep?

Even a diploma!!! :)
We are SO proud of our Bailey girl and all her hard work. She had great notes on her progress report and seems to be going well in class.  Let's hope that translates into some fabulous times in California and Utah the next eight weeks!!!

We Did It!

The 12 Days of Christmas project is complete!  And with only a few hours to spare.

The finished tree!

Here's the run-down of the items we gifted to our "neighbors":
  • Police (the ones that set up shop outside our house and disturb nap time) - A jar of Dulce de Guajaba and sliced bread
  • Workers (there's a house down the block where one of the guards and a local "chica" live) - Plate of banana muffins
  • Fruit guys (the ones on the corner that harass us when we're driving and croon over the girls when we're walking) - Four bags of ice for their thermoses 
  • Milk lady - Plate of sugar cookies
  • Guards (the two along our usual route to the mall) - Plates of sugar cookies and home made granola bars
  • Fruit Vendors (we're regular customers at Tuesday's AgroMart) - Plate of sugar cookies
  • Librarian - Plate of banana muffins
  • Chipa guys (so sweet to Bailey, even when we don't stop in and buy chipa) - Baggie of sugar cookies; we were out of paper plates (besides, Bailey wanted to "help" carry them...baggie it is!)
  • Sindy and Sylvia (two of our favorite ACA secretaries) - Christmas plates with banana muffins
  • Bailey's teachers - coffee mugs, Irish cream instant coffee mix and nail polish
  • Dr. Schmidt (he's recently moved into a new office) - puzzle, markers and paper for the "kid" area
  • Tio Ruben - snacks to jump start his stay in our house while we're away
Yes, there were a lot of banana muffins and sugar cookies being passed around, but Bailey loves to bake and those are two things that are easy to make, easy to gift, and "easy" to snack on ourselves when there were leftovers! :)

Bailey with her teachers; I felt weird taking pics
with the others on our list... 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

12 "Days" of Christmas

Since the beginning of the month, Bailey and I have been working on a Pinterest inspired project to give small gifts to people in our neighborhood in celebration of Christmas.  We started with a bare Christmas tree - well, a giant green triangle with a star on top - and are adding an ornament every time we give a plate of cookies, bags of ice, or trays of cupcakes to various friends around town.

The plan was to have 12 ornaments and to gift one goodie every day for the first 12 days of the month. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezey.  


It's the 9th (soon to be the 10th) and there are only six ornaments on the tree. Three of which we put on in one day.

Mixing up banana muffins to take to our neighbors

You see, the lady that comes to collect the milk I donate doesn't always come on the same day every week. Neither do the trash guys. And the police that set up shop on the corner aren't predicable, either.  So I couldn't make up a nice little "advent" type calendar to go by.  We're just winging it (which is SO hard for me!).  

Day one (actually the 3rd); putting up the second
of three ornaments that day

But we're not giving up.  Yes, we have six ornaments to go and only four days left, but I'm bound and determined to finish.  And, let's be honest, Bailey's just along for the ride at this point.

Even if we have to change the names on the ornaments and give a plate of cookies to the chipa guys instead of the ice cream gal, we will have a dozen red ornaments on that tree by the time we get on our plane bound for home.  We will.

I hope...

Friday, December 7, 2012

I'm Sorry

In the spirit of the holidays, I'd like to offer an apology to everyone that has a child under the age of three.

I have thought terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad things about you, your child, and - mostly - your parenting. Especially you non Babywise folks.

It all started roughly 30 months ago when we were blessed with our darling Bailey.  We had read the Babywise book, had friends who successfully implemented the Parent Directed Feeding theory, and knew that we bought into the school of thought.  The first weeks were rocky, but hey - you spend nine months growing up inside your mommy's tummy and then pop out on a perfect 3 hour eat-wake-sleep cycle.  But by the time Bailey was just a few weeks old, she was in a routine and on a pretty good schedule.  As the weeks went by, she just rolled with the punches: extending wake times, transitioning to life in Paraguay, and lengthening her eat-wake-sleep cycles first to 3.5 hours, then to four.


What do you mean you were nursing every two hours all day long? Isn't your kid like FOUR months old?

"Growth spurt" you say??? Suuuuuure.  You just need to let that kid

She's not sleeping through the night? Hummmm...maybe you should read "THE" book. Duh.

Can you PLEASE stop posting on Facebook about your little one not taking good naps! It's your gosh-darn fault. Buck-up! Be the parent! Adjust wake times and figure it out!

That's just a sampling of what has rolled around in my head as I read your posts about the woes of motherhood.  I may have replied "So sorry! Hope the rest of the day turns around for you" . . . but that's not what I was thinking. Definitely not.

And while I'm being honest, my running holier-than-thou commentary wasn't reserved just for the non-Babywise moms.  No, you fellow schedule Mommies were subject to scrutiny, too, as you struggled with extending the wake times, dropping naps, dealt with interruptions to the day.  My pride welled up and I just couldn't understand what your problem was. If you would just do Babywise "right"- whatever that is - you wouldn't have any problems.

Man did I have it coming.

And I got it.

In a word: Boston.

This kid has been "trouble" since day one.  And God has been using her to soften my spirit, reveal a whole lot of "junk" in my heart that I (still) have to deal with, and humble me as a parent, well, as a person in general.

Because I did nurse her every two hours, all weekend long when she was about two months old and "should" have been on a solid three hour schedule. Growth spurt? Maybe. I dunno.

Because she didn't magically sleep through the night one night like she "should" have.  It was on our doctors recommendation that we just let her cry - for over an hour the first night - when she was about three months old. In his words: "she's too big to need that 3AM feeding."

Because she's an erratic napper; the things that disturb her one day (i.e. the police setting up a checkpoint outside her window), don't bother her the next. The blender that doesn't wake her up one week, does on the following try.  Some days morning naps are two hours long. Somedays (like today) they're 45 minutes. She wakes up happy, but that's not how it's "supposed" to be.

And the list goes on.

And I've learned to let go . . . and eat my humble pie as I watch our crazy, unpredictable, fickle baby play contentedly on the floor.

She will never be the perfect poster-child for Babywise, and neither will I be a perfect mother. That was out the window long before I even got started.

And I will read posts about other crazy, unpredictable, fickle children with a heart full of empathy, and a soul aching for forgiveness for all the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad things I thought.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trebumkotte Thanksgiving

Spending holidays away from family and the traditions that have been a part of your life since before you can remember is one of the things that makes living abroad hard. You do what you can to recreate the meal and you spend the day with the friend that have become your surrogate family, but it's still not the same.  Fun, and the best you can muster, but there's a part of you that misses family just a bit more than usual. 

That said, we had an enjoyable time with two other families (plus two singles) from ASA this past Thursday.  We started off with nap time for the girls while we finished up the food and waited for the others to arrive.  Waiting for the others outlasted nap time, so the girls were in full-fledged play mode when it was time to get our grub on.

The table was filled with delicious food: turkey, gravy, twice-baked mashed potatoes, squash casserole, green bean casserole, green salad, dressing and rolls.  YUM!!!

Once we ate, we all ignored "Mom"'s advice to wait 30 minutes before swimming; it was hot and the pool felt amazing.  This is the part of the day where Brandon snuck away from the group and grabbed himself a tryptophan-induced nap.  

The girls took a swim break to munch on some popsicles, while the rest of us held out for apple pie and blueberry dump cake.

As the evening came to a close, the wind picked up a bit and temperature dropped just enough that Bailey wanted out of the pool.  So it was time for some turkey coloring in the coloring books Bobbie put together for the girls for just such an occasion.

Boston was under the weather; cold + fever = no fun.  This was about as festive as she got on turkey day.  Oh well, she'll have plenty more, filled with family and friends and the "right" foods on the North American continent.   {SMILE}

By the way: Trevino + Bumgarner + Waterkotte = Trebumkotte; and I'm going to miss those guys. I don't know what we'd do without them.

Brandon's Turkey

This whole fiasco started nearly six weeks before turkey day, as we sat around the pool with our Thanksgiving family, delegating pieces of the meal to each other.  I'd made an apple pie for a previous gathering and was put on pie duty for Thanksgiving.  Others had made various side dishes for other BBQ's and/or at last year's feast and were called upon to recreate those dishes.

Then it got to Brandon.

And we all laughed.

He didn't know why.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that his usual contribution to a meal is in the form of drinks? Maybe?

His pride took a hit and - you know Brandon - he set his sights high. "Fine!" he said. "You laugh all you want; I'll make the turkey!"

We chuckled again; well, they all chuckled and I rolled my eyes, knowing that Brandon is just stubborn enough to make it happen.  Then I got nervous about how much it was going to cost us to import this darn bird.

The rest of the story is best told with the pictures I took of the process.  I forgot a few of the first "steps" so you'll just have to imagine Brandon planted in the chair at the computer, youtube-ing "how to brine a turkey."  His jaw hit the floor several times as one video kept throwing out lines like "two days later" then "wait overnight" and "three days later."  I just laughed.  And he found another recipe that had a shorter timeline.

Adding salt and sugar to boiling water to make the brine

Cleaning out the turkey

Putting the turkey in a garbage bag
(hey, you do what you can with what you have)

Bag o' turkey in the fridge's vegetable
 drawer, then add the brine

Drying off the brined (and rinsed) turkey

Ready for the oven!

It cooked MUCH faster than expected

Ready to carve his masterpiece

How did it taste you ask? Let's just say that Brandon will be the designated turkey-cooker in this household.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rock a Bye Baby

In the words of Bailey "Where's a the rocking chair? They come a take a the rocking chair away?"

Yeah, baby. The rocking chair is gone.

Daddy reading stories to little Bailey girl

I knew better than to get attached. It was only ever on loan.  The former academic director at Asuncion Christian Academy had used it for all four of her kids; since the youngest was nearly three when we moved here, it wasn't being used for nursing duty.

iPhone time with Graw

I was - and am - incredibly grateful for the loan.  It was much more comfy than a dining room table chair tucked in the corner.  And nursing Boston will be a bit "harder" now. But it still wasn't the right chair. You see, I was supposed to nurse my babies in my great-Aunt Ruby's rocking chair. The one with the squeaky springs in the seat that poke your bum through the crimson and mustard fabric cushion.  Then again, she was "supposed" to be around to gift it to me herself, instead of me inheriting it just weeks before Bailey's arrival in 2010.

Stashed the phone for a "cheese!"

Instead, I fed my girls on someone else's chair. With a seat-back that leaned a bit too far back and spindles that I could never situate in a comfortable way along my spine, even with an afghan draped over the back.

Super awkward/terrible last-ditch
effort to get a pic

Even if it was all wrong - wrong chair, not super comfortable, weird & unpredictable squeaks in the rock, so few pictures of it, five minute warning that it was being picked up and taken away - it was still "ours" for a season. It's what I used to feed my girls and soothe their boo-boos in.  

The ONLY picture of me (sort of ) in the chair.
At least I'm with both my babies.

And I'm going to miss it . . . I already miss it.