Thursday, January 23, 2014

HAPPY 2014!

It always feels so weird to write the New Year, doesn’t it?  Wow, 2014 already!


We rang in the New Year with team mates.


Jeff was in charge of the fireworks, as usual.


Wishing Ryan a Happy 14th Birthday!



We celebrated Ryan’s birthday with 2 other mission families at a newly opened pool 20 minutes from our house.  The owners let us have it all to ourselves and they cooked us a fabulous lunch.  It is amazing to me that in the middle of nowhere, in a small colonia, off the red clay road there is a beautiful, clean, shaded oasis from the heat.


It was a great day....a great birthday....and great memories were made.


 pool volleyball
fabulous lunch

Volley ball – one of Ryan’s favorite sports.  He’s getting pretty good at it too.  He and Jeff make a great (competitive) team.

For his birthday dessert Ryan requested one of his favorites - Mrs. Christie’s Guava Pie.  He’s only ever had it at her house but each time he does I hear about it and he asks me to get to the recipe.  Little does he know that I have had the recipe since the first time he bragged about how good it tasted 4 years ago.  I just have never made it (guess I’m just more of a chocolate pie maker myself).  But what’s even better than asking mom to make Mrs. Christie’s pie?  having Mrs. Christie make Mrs. Christie’s pie, of course.  And that’s just the sort of wonderful teammates we have.  Mrs. Christie volunteered to bake it and boy was Ryan happy.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

our CHIRSTMAS - the 24th and 25th

We drove back from Asuncion on the 24th, arriving at our house about 1:00.  It was a hot 5 hour drive (our car has no working air-conditioning) and all we could think about when getting home was setting the kiddie pool up to get cooled off and sipping terere. 

After we were cooled down a bit and relaxed, we unpacked and wrapped gifts and started on our Christmas Eve traditions....opening stocking, a new movie and firecrackers. I am never more reminded that I have a household full of boys as on Christmas Eve in Paraguay. My boys LOVE firecrackers. The younger boys’motto is “the louder the better”. The older boys (including their father) measure success by how much of the fruit exploded. Even though the explosions rattle my bones, I love the look on my kids’ faces as they waiting in anticipation....pure excitement......pure joy.

We were invited to our friend’s house for a grilled lechon (baby pig) dinner (Paraguayans celebrate on the 24th).  We arrived at 9:00 and were served dinner at 11:00.  Jeff lit more firecrackers there.

We arrived home just before midnight and....Jeff lit even more firecrackers.

On the 25th we had a relaxed waffle breakfast, a family reading of the Christmas story, and then a time of opening gifts.  I just love giving good gifts to my kids! 

For lunch we avoid trying to recreate a traditional North American Christmas lunch (too difficult here) and instead do something that we normally wouldn’t.  This year we decided on Chinese food which I have never made before.  Since my hand is still very sore, Ginny was a huge help in preparing the majority of the dishes and it turned out fabulous.

We played lots of games, put together LEGO kits, spent hours in the kiddie pool - Christmas day was incredibly hot – we sipped tons of terere, and cherished the time together as family.

 Homemade icecream for rootbeer floats

Friday, January 17, 2014


This will be my 7th Christmas in Paraguay and I would think by now the 100 degree weather December brings wouldn’t be such a shocker.....but it is.  The heat coupled with high humidity hits like a wall as soon as eyes open in the morning.  It stalks you all day zapping energy and a desire to do anything physical.  This kind of heat has a way of creeping into attitudes making them irritable and emotions moody.  It’s the kind of heat that makes you long for the relief of a cold shower; relief that doesn’t last because as soon as you’re out the heat and stickiness greets you once more.  You go to bed just as hot and sticky as before the shower, with sheets thrown off, fan on high speed, and wondering why you’re so tired when you did nothing that day but sweat. 


It’s in this heat that we preparing our hearts and home for the season of Christmas.  No snow, mittens or hot chocolate for us in the Southern Hemisphere.  Instead we drink even more terere and eat watermelon.  The kids jump in and out of the pool all day and the adults sit as close as they can to catch their splashes.    


Christmas where we live most every day where we live is....tranquillo.  There are a handful of Christmas trees (all about 3 feet) in our neighbor’s homes and a few strands of lights on just a couple houses.  That’s about as outwardly Christmasy as people get around here.  December isn’t a time of gifts and over-the-top decorations.  December is about family coming home for a brief but sweet visit.  Country families are torn apart mainly for financial reasons.  Dad lives and works in the capital to learn money to put in a modern bathroom or add a barn to his property.  Daughters work in Argentina as maids and send money back for their babies who grandma is now raising.  Children live in neighboring towns to attend school or help a relative on his farm.  They may not see each other all year.  In December you can feel the excitement and anticipation as families await a glorious Christmas homecoming.




That’s it.  No endless runs to the malls. No long wish lists to Santa.  No late night drives home from pageants.


It’s all about family.   


I asked my children separately what they wanted for Christmas.  Tyler and Micah said LEGOS, but the three older kids said they couldn’t think of anything they needed and all they wanted to do was be together.  That certainly wouldn’t have been my answer when I was their age; my room would have been littered with toy catalogues and my wish list a mile long.  But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised at my children’s answer; after all, they’ve spent more Christmases in Paraguay than in North America.  And maybe all these years of hot lazy summer days during the Christmas season when I am zapped of energy and feet plopped in the kiddie pool WITH MY FAMILY ALL AROUND haven’t been in vain.  Even though I’m not totally accustomed to a summertime Christmas, I am learning to embrace the heat because it means we get to pass the terere around the circle a bit longer and talk just a bit more AS A FAMILY.  We smile and laugh more as we spend time outside watching the kids perform stunts and tricks for our entertainment.  We’re quicker to say yes to another hand of Skip-Bo or Uno or Monopoly.  In the evenings, a family movie under a fan on full speed is welcomed.  Thanks to the Paraguayan heat, Christmas for us is becoming synonymous with family and I wouldn’t want it any other way.


JOSIAH at 9 months

He can go from laying down to sitting up by himself
He lifts his arms for you to pick him up which the kids think is so cute
He’s crawling                                                    
He loves to put his feet in his mouth
He loves to sit in front of the Christmas tree looking at the lights
He makes some pretty funny faces