Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Good news in the mail

Good news came in the mail today. We received our 3rd electric bill to date, and while bills are not normally considered good news, we were pleased to see that this bill is half as much as our first bill. Finally, our PR electric bill is now less than our house payment in West Lafayette. No joke.

The cost of living here, and especially electricity, is high. And yes, dad, from talking with others, we're pretty sure the electric company isn't just scalping us because Ben works for Lilly!

We had a great time at a botanical garden near here on Saturday. I hope to post pictures soon.

Lily, who loves to look at our photo albums here, has now discovered that she can see pictures of Anabelle Humphreys (her friend from Lafayette RPC) on the computer. Now she has a regular request whenever the computer gets turned on!

We will be home so soon. I can't wait.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

We were at the beach on Saturday and took these pictures. When we got home, we had pictures in our email inbox from my dad showing pictures of 11" of snow. Sorry, Pops.

The beach is nice right now because it's the off-season: for the locals it's "winter", and the holiday tourists haven't arrived yet.

Sabbath ramblings

Here are a few interesting things from this week:

Monday we went to the San Patricio Mall, where they had a living nativity, with the "living" part being the animals. The set up was complete with a gumball machine filled with animal food - $.25 for a handful. We had a whole lot of fun for $.50! They had a small cow, 4 sheep, chickens, 2 rabbits, and 3 big goats with horns, who could scare little children by jumping up and putting their front feet on their fence pen. Lily added "Baby - Jesus" to her vocabulary. Nothing like a little zoo in the midst of a nice mall with A/C, florescent lights, and Christmas decorations!

Good news from home: there is going to be a West Lafayette RPC, Lord willing!

For $.25, I recently picked up a copy of Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron at our local library's perpetual booksale (one of the ways they make money as a private institution). I'd seen this book recommended on some of my cloth diapering groups, and it has been no disappointment. While the author is a bit of a health food nut, she does have numerous good ideas for feeding little babies solid food that will build their health. I was especially interested in the charts that she includes explaining suggested feeding schedules (ie, how many nursings per day, how many different types of food at each solid food meal, etc.) for each month starting at 6 mo. Also interesting were the recommendations on which foods were most nutritious and when they could be introduced safely to babies. Mariah's diet now includes lots of sweet potatoes, avocado, and some ricotta cheese. And I've got a long list of new things to keep adding...

Lily, who refers to herself as "Yi Yee", has added the reflexive pronoun "self" to her vocabulary. This word shows up when she goes to the bathroom, eats, or walks with us - for example, when we're walking together she sometimes pulls her hand out of mine and says, "self", meaning I want to walk by myself. Don't hold my hand.

Our Spanish teacher informed us Wednesday that we have 2 more lessons to go and we will have enough foundation to start forming sentences properly. I'm ready.

Friday morning our play group met at Angel's house (Angel goes to the Thursday Bible at Calvary). The kids did a little Christmas craft (made ornaments) and also decorated birthday cakes - Happy Birthday Jesus! This play group is somewhat of an outreach (not exactly organized, it just flows out of life): Moms that are part of the play group meet other moms in the community and we invite them to come and hang out with their kids and play with us and our kids. We get to build friendships in a comfortable environment and share about the Lord as we have opportunity in the context of life.

Friday night we went to the park and met a couple with a 2 year old son from Cuba. He is a Dr. here doing his residency. I've never met anyone from Cuba and we had a fascinating conversation with adults who have come out of Fidel's regime. His basic summary: I like the US. You have freedom. You have money. In Cuba, we have no freedom and no money. Interesting to hear it from someone who has lived under that.

I also had a nice conversation with Idania, wife of the Dr. from Cuba. She hasn't met many stay at home moms here, so I'm hoping to introduce her to some of the ladies and kids in our play group. Lord willing, she'll also get a chance to hear about Jesus.

Our Pastor Vater just returned from a short preaching trip to Haiti. There is a growing group of believers in Haiti with whom leaders from the Reformed Baptist churches have been visiting, usually hosting a short teaching conference on the Confession of Faith (the Baptist Confession of 1689, which is basically the Westminster Confession of Faith with a few revisions for Baptists.) Pastor reported on his trip during the Sunday School hour (an impromtu SS lesson; the teacher's wife gave birth to a baby this morning) and had some amazing stories about Haiti and the opportunities and challenges there. Evidently these fraternal relations have been developing over 6 years and at this most recent conference there were around 200 people there who were seriously interested in studying reformed theology.

Our neighborhood hosted a Christmas party at the clubhouse (which is across the street from us) today. We didn't make an appearance, but we got to "enjoy" the music nonetheless. The party started at 1 p.m., and we felt the rock beat in our house for a few hours, then the live music started and we got to hear the sax and other instruments and feel the drums almost as though they were playing in our own living room. We went to evening worship, came back, and still the live music was playing. We put the girls in bed, heard 2 or 3 more songs, and finally the music stopped nearly 8 hours after it started. I breathed a sigh of relief, and then heard a little voice from the upstairs bedroom say, "mo-wa", as in, more music, please!

I guess we're kind of on a count-down now. We leave for Christmas 1 week from this coming Thursday!

Mariah stands alone

Here's what Mariah did this morning in the nursery of her own volition, according to my friends who witnessed it. We helped her up at home (for the picture), but she can stand for a second on her own, and has enough control to lower herself to a squat without immediately crashing. She is strong. Look out everyone, here I come!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Here's some of our latest (though maybe not greatest) pictures:

We have a 2-dimensional Christmas tree this year - Ben conceived the idea and and I put it together. Since it hangs on the wall, it's quite child-proof.

A small invasion of ants in our kitchen. A couple months ago, we contracted with an exterminator to come on a regular basis. He applies this sticky ant bait which the ants eat, take back to their nests, and all die. It works really well and I never have to worry about smashing ants or spraying Raid (traps are almost useless here). I think it's kind of interesting how they all line up like eyelashes to munch on their suicidal feast.

Mariah has learned to clap her hands and thinks it's a pretty fun trick.

Concerning interesting things in life: I visited with some other wives of Lilly employees this morning and discovered that Ben's long hours are actually shorter than what some guys work. Two of them mentioned that their husbands don't get home until 9 pm at the earliest, and it can be as late as 11 pm. at times. Often their kids go 3 days without seeing their dad. The working hours in the corporate world here in PR are really frustrating to us since they conflict so directly with our personal value of family time.

We were excited to learn that the E. Blackwoods would like us to store their spinet-style piano in our house while they're Down Under. I'm not sure yet where we'll put it, but I am so excited that we will have a real piano to use when we get home!