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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mid-year Resolutions

Before I write about anything else I must share with all of you, my faithful, devoted readers that my dear Chicky has passed on. To be completely honest it took me by surprise as she seemed to be on the upswing. It also took me by surprise how sad I was over this fact. I guess after devoting 3 weeks of my time and energy into this little bird I had grown a lot more attached than I had thought. We had an awesome German Shepherd that was poisoned and died while we were on furlough, yet even for him I didn't shed a tear...but Chicky was the recipient of many. I even heard Karis talking to somebody on her play cell phone today and say "Chicky died and mommy is sad." Then again she asked me several times today "does Chicky work now?" so apparently the concept of death isn't something a two year old can grasp mentally. I'm quite surprised she isn't more upset than she is, especially since Chicky was "her" bird :-)

I've been debating about posting about health, nutrition, weight-loss, etc, etc, for a few weeks now. So far I've convinced myself I'd be sorry if I do, yet out of desperation here I plunge (I'll just warn you Kim, Cristy and Angie that you may want to skip this post since it will be pretty much the same ol' same ol' I'm always complaining about yet never doing anything about).

Ok, so here it goes. I'm going to complain. I am so tired of being out of shape and miserable. Being 30 lbs heavier than I should be is torture and not just for esthetical reasons. I am addicted to sugar, coffee, carbs and anything else bad for your health. I have to do something NOW and so the idea is to air my dirty laundry on my blog so that I feel pressure/guilt to do what I know I need to do....now. Listen, I know I'm not the only one out there who struggles in these areas so please don't write me saying that 30 lbs overweight or 28 years of addictions are nothing compared to yours (if you happen to have more)...instead join me in making some new mid-year resolutions. Let's act out of guilt together! And if you've perfected these areas in your life then please lay on a good dose of guilt, if you don't mind. Don't sugar coat the truth (get it...sugar coat...haha).

Several things have happened lately that have made this a dire situation in my life, as far as I'm concerned...here are a few.

1.) The whole rolling thing. You can't continue playing soccer if you can't stop yourself from rolling when you fall. There is just something wrong about it. The alternative would be to not play soccer but we all know that is not the answer.

2.) The only men that I know of who read this blog are my granddaddy and my husband...if you happen to be a man other than them you may want to skip this cute little story. Anyway, Karis was helping me hang up laundry a few days ago. This is how the dialogue went...

Karis: "Are these your panties, mommy?" (she's handing me clothes to hang up out of the basket)
Me: "yep, those are mine."
Karis: "You're biiiiiiiiiig panties?"
Me: "Yep, my big panties" (heart sinking).
Karis: (picking up a pair of her own) "These are my panties. My little panties."

Now yes, I realize that even if my size 8 panties were the size 4/5 that they should be they would still be labeled "big" in her eyes. It doesn't matter though...I can't try to rationalize and minimize the guilt I need to feel.

3. I am so tired....so, so tired of wearing the same fat clothes I paid pennies for in the States. Clothes that I had planned on wearing for only a month or so after returning to Brazil because I knew I'd lose weight. I have this goofy shirt that I got at a garage sale that says something like "I've gone to look for myself. If I come back before I return please keep me here". So when I walked into a building the other day one of the ladies said "hey, you're wearing that shirt again!" I am sorry, but I only have 3 t-shirts that fit and I refuse...I refuse to go spend more money on fat clothes so that I can feel more comfortable and grace others with more variety. Not going to do it. But thanks, Gina, for bringing that to my attention...I need to muster up all the guilty feelings I can. This helps.

4. I'm uncomfortable. And I've discovered that really 30 lbs over weight isn't much worse than 10 lbs overweight. Although I probably shouldn't think along those lines. I may convince myself to be more lenient with myself. Either way I'm uncomfortable.

5. And last but not least I am moody. You cannot convince me (you can try, but you will not) that diet doesn't affect our moods. I truly believe in the value of eating nutritious meals and lots of raw fruits and veggies. For the short period of my life where I exercised self-discipline and ate a healthy diet (consisting of 60-70% raw fruits and veggies) I experienced living with a rational mind 98.9% of the time without the emotional outbursts that are now, unfortunately, a frequent part of my life. I had one of the worst mornings ever last week. It was so bad and I couldn't even pinpoint why it was so bad until I realized "oh, I haven't had my cup of coffee yet!". One cup of caffeine-saturated coffee later I was good to go ('til after lunch when I was ready for my 2nd cup). I really don't like being addicted to caffeine and white-processed health deteriorating chemicals. I feel more sorry for my family than I do for myself!

So if you don't mind (or even if you do mind since I can't read your mind) I'm going to hold myself accountable on my blog for a few things. I can't go too radical just yet since I know the process of detoxing is long and painful and we have only a week before our next move. But there are a few changes I want to make now...anyone want to join me?

1. I want to totally eliminate sugar from my diet for the time-being. Ideally I'd like to stay away from the white-processed sugar for the rest of my life but for now I'll focus on this month.

2. I want to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

3. I want to limit myself to one cup of coffee a day.

4. I want to eat a portion of something raw (fruit or veggie) before every meal.

Ok, that does it for my mid-year resolutions...for now anyway. Feel free to ask in the comment section every once in a while how I'm doing. If you don't hear anything for a while or if the picture on my profile hasn't changed (the one that was taken about 4 years and 30 pounds ago) then you'll know I'm not doing so well.

Here's to new beginnings!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beans and Bullets.

My mother in law taught me to sort through my bag of beans before I cook them. It's always good, you know, to pick out the little shriveled ones or the ones that have turned an unattractive shade of black (who knows if the black is really a bad thing but since it can't be a good thing we'll feel like we've accomplished something by taking those beans out). However when we first moved here I discovered that the expensive bag of beans (a whole 25 cents more) were cleaner, nicer and I could get away with skipping the sorting process & just dump them into the pressure cooker. Now that the dollar has devaluated and the cost of beans has risen it is now worth saving the $1.50 by buying the cheaper brand and sorting through the beans (the difference in price has risen because of the exchange rate). Of course I had to experiment by being lazy one time by just dumping the cheaper beans into the pressure cooker. What did I get? Some really tasty beans along with some still very solid rocks. Yeah, rocks. I never did tell Jonathan (oops, he knows now) because I was able to take out the bigger rocks and I think the smaller ones were probably assumed to be gristle, or something. So today...I broke down and sorted my beans before I cooked them.

See the tiny pile off in the corner of the rejects?


Here is a closer view in case you were wondering if it really is worth the time to sort through the huge pile only to find a few losers. No, that is not a raisin in the middle and yes, those are rocks you see off to the left (the rocks really aren't good for those teeth that have been filled, and re-filled over the years...youch).


Besides beans there are a few other things consuming my thoughts these days...

  • I'm improving in soccer and really enjoying the exercise. I only fell one time last night and stopped rolling quicker than normal. This is the first stage in my life where I get to experience rolling after a fall. Oh well, there's a first time for everything!
  • Chicky is about the same. Not really better but not worse. Perhaps I need to get used to the idea that I may have a handicapped bird for the next 10 years of my life. She's still just as sweet as ever.
  • 11 more days 'til we move...I really can't wait. I thought I had outgrown that "anxious" feeling that I discovered I get when I know I'm about to move but can't move yet. Guess I haven't...I feel so anxious to settle again! But the soccer, the exercise and the rolling are helping (ok, maybe the rolling isn't but I just wanted to say that). Does MamaJill or anybody else have some moving tips for me? I'm a little confused as to what I should pack up this far in advance and what I should leave for a later date.
  • The politicians in town have now, I'm sure, rented every available car with speakers attached to it these last days 'til the election. They've decided now is the time to take the next step and go door-to-door handing out pieces of paper with their picture/name on it. When I go out to the gate I've discovered speaking really choppy Portuguese on purpose helps as they just look at me, hand me the paper, smile and then walk away (Jonathan has to listen to a speech every time he goes out and talks like a normal person!).
  • Karis is improving in the potty training dept. (I totally put it off until just last week!). I love saving money on diapers. I really, really love saving that money.

Well, the munchkin is napping and I'm feeling the need to be more productive (sorting beans isn't quite enough to make me feel accomplished for today).


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Oh Chicky, My Chicky...

If there is a sick animal in need of a home it will somehow find it's way to my house. If I decide that we need a family pet-rabbit and I have 10 bunnies to choose from, somehow...somehow I will manage to pick out the one that has some rare genetic disorder that requires extra time and money and energy, etc, etc, etc (and yes, I've already tried convincing Jonathan that we need a rabbit as a pet as well). Yet right now I am ready to render myself pet-free for the rest of my life due to the stress/anxiety that our little Chicky is causing me. Soon after we brought Chicky home I noticed that she wasn't really using one of her legs. Kind of odd but not a huge deal, I thought to myself...I'll just keep an eye on it. Then I talked with some friends here who got her two siblings from the same batch of eggs and one of their birds was doing the same thing! Ok, I should try to figure out why this is happening. To make a long story short little Chicky consumed my daily thoughts as her condition worsened each day and as I frantically tried to find some answers around town and on the internet. Nobody seemed to have a clue what her deal was (even the bird guy here in town)and she didn't have any of the symptoms of the more common bird foot illnesses. By Saturday little Chicky was pulling herself around the cage with her wings and beak (her other foot had become almost useless). Oh, if you're not an animal person then you have no idea how truly horrific and draining this is to me! On Saturday I gave one more attempt on the internet to see if I could find something and happened to find a lady posting about her bird who had the same symptoms and had just been diagnosed...so, I think Chicky has a calcium deficiency. The good news is I am fairly certain Chicky is diagnosed...the bad news is that she may be paralyzed for the rest of her birdy life. My dear husband (who I'm probably driving nuts with my bird woes) dutifully ran to town since the bird store was to close 5 minutes after my internet discovery and bought some calcium blocks/drops to put in Chicky's food/water. 3 days later she does seem more chipper but still can't use one foot and hardly can use the other foot. It is so pitiful to watch her hobble around her cage...I just don't know if I can stand it! If anybody has any parakeet wisdom, please, please, for the love of Chicky (and me) please share. Ok, onto more less-depressing happenings in the Kroeker home.

Karis and I ground some wheat berries and made bread this morning! Even though I ended up checking on Chicky in-between tasks (grind berries, check on chicky, heat water, check on chicky, stir ingredients, check on chicky...and so on and so on) the bread turned out decent. It's fun that Karis is old enough to "help" me in the kitchen. Much more interesting that way!

This is Karis before she knew I was taking her picture.

And this is the absolutely goofy face she makes once she realizes the camera is pointed in her direction.


And here she is-10 pictures later-when she's finally tired of making her goofy face. Much better.


Since the beginning of this post is completely depressing (to me anyway) let's add one more thing to cheer this post up a bit. Another favorite song of Karis'...

video

I guess I better end this post (and go check on Chicky)...


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Heartache.

Today I've been humbled and challenged by a blog I read (that Tiff shared in her comment last night.) Since most of you probably wouldn't see her comment and because I think many will be blessed by reading this blog I thought I'd pass it on in this post! This sweet couple just lost their first-born child, minutes after he was born. Apparently there were suspicions that his heart had some problems and the main thought was a chromosome abnormality yet they had high hopes for their little guy and were prepared to receive a baby into their home just like any other expecting couple. It is heart-wrenching in one sense to read their story (you can feel their hurt) yet encouraging and challenging to see how they are leaning on the Savior's grace. I do encourage any of you to stop by and read a few of the posts! I think the easiest would be to start at this post at the address pasted below (Tiffany warned us in her comment to grab some tissues yet I didn't listen and therefore had to make several trips to the bathroom to grab a wad of toilet paper. Meg, you may want to take a whole box of tissues with you to the computer!)

http://caseychappell.typepad.com/baby/2008/08/11/index.html

How humbled and grateful I am by this couples testimony. I had no idea how blessed I truly was that I got to take my baby home with me. I was able to watch her grow and go through all of the baby stages that I had anticipated and thought about during pregnancy. We've had the blessing of watching her grow for almost three years now.

Let's lift up the Chappell family in prayer! May the Lord bless them with His presence and peace during this incredibly trying time. My heart aches for them as I think about the hurt they must feel walking past the room they set up for their little Asher. Cover them with Your love, Lord!

Friday, August 22, 2008

This-n-that

I'm really enjoying the whole blogging thing. It has been so much fun to get to know other people in a way that I probably never would have with email. It's also been very therapeutic taking the time to sit down and reflect on what is going on in our lives and how the Lord is working (it's also a great motivator knowing that people are reading!). I'm already excited about 10 years down the road when I can look back and be reminded of the smaller day-to-day occurrences that are easily forgotten. So far I've managed to convince Kim to start a blog (check her out at http://my1chronicles2915experience.blogspot.com/ ) and I've almost convinced my sister-in-law Cristy, to start hers (I'm guessing it's only a matter of time). My friend Angie is going to be a tough cookie though, I think. With 4 kiddos, a new town & house, 2 months w/o kitchen cabinets (she just got some!) teaching a music class and a husband who's been traveling constantly since the move I can't figure out why she's not so gung-ho about the idea (I guess some people just have a hard time focusing on more than one thing at a time). What about you, Tiff? You're a faithful comment-leaver...I would love to read your blog! Do you need an email from me as well to convince you to start one up?

Ok, onto subject #2. Karis is getting much better at the whole hiding thing...




Subject #3 I've been trying to paint different pieces of furniture that got pretty banged up in the move. One was a buffet that we bought from the mission when we first moved here. It would have looked great being stripped, sanded, sanded some more, stained and then sealed but since it might be a few years 'til I have the time to do that (or years 'til I convince myself to spend the time doing that) I decided to paint it instead. I couldn't get the idea out of my head to paint it a rusty kind of red color and even though every person I told my plans to couldn't help but gasp, I did it anyway. It's getting easier and easier to just do what I want regardless of what others think in my older age. Some call it being stubborn, others call it being independent...I'd prefer to call it standing firm against peer pressure (maybe I could write a book about that?). So here it is folks, the red buffet (and I do like it, btw). A little shiny but it sure hides the dings.

Speaking of older age...I am feeling it at this stage in my life. Partly because I haven't been consistent at exercising at all since the munchkin has been born, partly because I ate Papa Johns Pizza and Krispy Kreme donuts for 7 months on furlough and partly because I've been playing soccer with the women here on Wednesday and Thursday nights. It is a lot of fun and great exercise...yet Thursday nights are now my official nights to moan/complain about feeling old. I know I'm not old, I'm just feeling old. I realized last night (while attempting to play) what the big problem is. My mind is still 5 years younger. In my head I know just what to do, where to run, where to pass, etc, but the body just isn't cooperating. When I see that I need to be about 20 feet in front of me to receive a pass my mind is there ready to kick the ball only to realize that I'm only halfway there and my body is moving in slow motion! It's the most bizarre feeling. I stick my leg out to take the ball from the opponent only to realize that by the time my leg is out they've passed me and are shooting at the goal (oops, that's embarrassing). So even though I'm becoming stubborn in my older age (I mean, more firm against peer pressure) I'm being humbled in other ways. That's ok though. I may quicken my pace up if I keep playing 2 nights a week...especially if I can convince myself to do some other form of exercise. Oh, and as a side note...you wouldn't believe how much better I'm sleeping now that I'm getting some form of exercise! I am sleeping through the night, every night which is literally a first since the munchkin has been born. Jonathan isn't as thrilled about it as I am since he is the only one who hears if Karis wakes up at night:-)

Last subject here. One of the things I'm really looking forward to at the new house is the courtyard area behind the kitchen/dining room! There is a brick bbq pit thing as well as a fruit tree (jabuticaba is the fruit. Pretty yummy and you can make jam out of it!). Take a look...


Isn't it a cute area? I think we'll be spending lots of time out here! If you look closely in the front left side of the picture you can see our soon-to-be-dog, Moof (his real name is Moose but seems everybody calls him Moof or Moofy). We are getting him from the owners of the house (and we had planned to get him before the whole house thing came up!). One more pet for the Kroeker family.

I guess that'll do it for today, folks!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

All about Karis.

My daughter really likes herself. She thinks she's a one-of-a-kind child and won't mind telling you! (it may have something to do with the nice things we as her parents like to say to our only child...who happens to be one-of-a-kind).

Yesterday morning I put a new outfit on her since we were heading to a large city about an hour away for some bulk-buying (it was the town's b-day which also mean HOLIDAY...so we made it our once-a-month outing. What we spent on gas we made up for in buying t.p./diapers in bulk!). After I pulled the pants up around her waist she asked "Am I too cute?!"

Yeah, I guess the phrase "You're too cute" has flown out of my mouth a time or two. However, later on she made a comment in the truck that I don't believe I've ever said...she must have come up with that one on her own. She noticed an airplane flying by (she has been fixated on airplanes since she was just under a year) and brought it to our attention. Jonathan said "oh wow, you have good eyes!" to which she replied "I know. I have beautiful eyes!" That wasn't what he was getting at, however we probably would both agree with her (we're allowed to be biased, aren't we!?).

I must admit that when I was pregnant I wondered if I would know if my child wasn't very cute. I had a sibling who was rather un-cute during the first few years of his/her life and I recognized this as his/her sister (I won't tell which one, no matter how much you beg although if you are well-acquainted with my family you already know which one. It was that obvious, poor thing.) But it's different as a mom...it's your child. I don't know if this is something normal to wonder before your first baby is born but I did think about it every once in a while.

After Karis was born I became aware of two facts...

1. Yes, I'll know if my child is cute or not because I clearly see that my baby is not cute.

2. It makes NO difference whether my child is cute or not. She's mine! She's all mine!

Before you think I'm a terrible mother I better explain a little bit more. After about two months Karis did change quite a bit and became from that point on the world's most adorable munchkin (in my opinion, anyway). It was just at birth and during those first few months that she resembled a swollen, chubby monkey from Asia*

You don't believe me? Continue on!


See what I mean? I tried finding some of the not-so-attractive pictures of Karis when she was a newborn but I think I might have erased them (can't find 'em!). But really, it was more the time of day, lighting, etc that made a big difference. In this picture below she was less than a month old and already looking so much better...

So Karis' comments yesterday made me remember the day when I really thought I was something incredible myself (a LONG time ago). Weren't those days so uncomplicated? Just enjoying the day-to-day bliss thinking that the world revolved around me and that my parents were so blessed to have me as a child.

I was tempted to try to explain to her 2-year old mind that yes, her eyes were beautiful because God made them but that true beauty comes from within. Then I realized that it would be completely pointless to try and get her to understand that concept at this point and that if she's anything like the rest of us she'll realize on her own that she isn't perfect, and that that is ok. For the time being I'll just agree with her self-absorbed comments since I'm her mother and I can do that.

Since this post is completely about Karis and since I just remembered the cutest thing she used to do when she cried I'm going to include a short clip of her crying when she was little (how naive she was to think that crying would make me feel sorry for her. It was so darn cute!). Here's one of her adorable fits...

video

Thanks for letting today's post be all about my one-of-a-kind daughter. If she ever gets a sibling she is going to experience the rude awakening that life isn't about her very quickly:-)





*I need to clarify that I find those of the Asian descent to be BEAUTIFUL people. I only mentioned it because Karis did not resemble her Polish, Czechoslovakian, Italian and German descendants.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Music to my (your) ears.

Anybody want to sit back and imagine what it's like to live in the Kroeker home for a day? Watch this video...


video

Ok, now to really get the feeling you're living in our house set your kitchen timer for 30 minutes and when the timer goes off watch the above video again. Continue to do this throughout the day and you'll have the same tune going through your head that is constantly going through mine. I think everybody should do it for at least a week...it'll be a bonding experience.

For those who have never lived in Brazil this is the common way of advertising something...anything. Loud speakers strapped on top of a car or being pulled behind the car (going up and down every side street...over and over and over again). This particular video is a catchy song about a local politician running for office (ok, so I haven't listened that closely so I don't know exactly what he's running for. All I know is that "he has experience" and "he's already proven himself". Bygolly, I guess I should vote for him:-) This week we've already heard advertisements for a fabric store, a church and a "congratulations" to the town (since tomorrow is the town's birthday).

I guess I'm still enjoying living in a Brazilian neighborhood so much that I'm still enjoying this difference in outside noises (in the city we lived in we were far enough away from the busier side of town that we couldn't hear these advertisements).

But the sound that I really, really enjoy is the clopping of the horse hooves. It's such a cheerful sound. I wanted to get this on video as well but it's trickier since you can't hear the horse coming from miles away (like you can the loud speakers on the car) so by the time I hear the horse it's too late to get the camera ready. I'm sure you're all as bummed as I am.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Introducing Chicky

Karis got her first pet today! Of course she couldn't care less (which surprises me a bit) but that's ok, one day she'll get really excited over this fact. The new pet is a 35 day old baby parakeet who I'm pretty sure is a girl (which is good since Karis named her "Chicky". Not sure where she got this name unless Chicky reminds her of the baby chicks she sees in the farm stores). Anyway, "Chicky" is such a sweet little bird who loves to just sit in your hand and hang out. I'm including a picture of her in her box since she was so cozy in there I didn't want to take her out just for the picture. Here she is...


I'm really excited about having Chicky! Although I've calmed down quite a bit in my older age I still have a tendency to overindulge in acquiring family pets. My poor siblings aren't allowed to have pets because of the torture I put my parents through while living at home. As they tell my siblings "Kelley took your share of pets. Sorry." Honestly it's true. At one time my bedroom only had a trail to my bed and a trail to my dresser as it was full of 30-something gerbils, two cockatiels (in a HUGE cage), one parakeet, two Iguanas (one in a big aquarium and the other which happened to be almost 4-feet long in a big cage) and a 15-gallon fish tank full of...well, fish. That doesn't include the loads of rabbits in my back-yard, the several stray cats (who chose our garage as a place to have their stray kittens. Somehow animals just know when you're a softy/sucker for animals) and a few dogs here and there (later on in college I acquired two stray dogs who combined had about 6 litters of puppies. My fault, I take total blame for overpopulating TN with dogs). My dad calls me Elly May Clampett to this day and my friend's mom still hash a picture of me when I was younger playing Skip-Bo at their house with one of their full-grown chickens under each arm. At the time I didn't know why they thought it was funny (who wouldn't want to hold a few chickens if you go the chance?) yet now looking back I see how unusual that is. So far Karis shows no indication that she'll follow in my footsteps and be addicted to acquiring pets, even though she really does enjoy animals. Perhaps it's a good thing she's not thrilled with Chicky or poor Jonathan might feel outnumbered one day and find his house filled with strays (I think he feels like he can keep me under control at this point but you know how the daughter/father relationship goes...and remember he only has one child at this point who has him completely wrapped around her little finger).

We're having a nice weekend here doing projects around the house, acquiring pets, having friends over and dreaming about our new house (I still can't believe it!). I need to go and start making tortillas for supper tonight.

Before I go I'll include the short video we took of Karis the other day when she was hiding under her hands:-)




Thursday, August 14, 2008

Many blessings.

Brace yourselves folks, this is going to be a LONG post! It is going to be long not because I just drank a cup of coffee but because I have amazing news. Wonderful news. News that makes me want to get up and do a cartwheel (had I not attempted to play soccer with other women two days in a row I might just attempt to do it!). Ok, perhaps it won't be near as exciting for anyone reading my blog as it is for me but that doesn't even matter...I'm just so excited for myself:-)

Before I tell you this fabulous news I must confess that I have been living in luxury for over a week now with a toilet seat! A friend stopped by who had just bought the cheap ol' regular round kind to see if it would work and sure enough it did. Hallelujah. I thank the Lord every time I get up in the middle of the night and have the pleasure of sitting down. I will never (ok, I probably will) take toilet seats for granted.

So onto my great news! We got two things today. Two wonderful things. I will list the not-as-spectacular thing first and then get onto the really great "thing" we acquired today.

So first, we got internet! After 13 phone calls and lots of haggling on the phone my dear husband was finally able to convince somebody with the internet company that we've signed up for internet access every day for two weeks. Two days later we now have dsl at home (hence the LONG post tonight as I can do it in the comfort of my present home). I don't even want to know how many hours Jonathan had to invest in phone conversations to make it happen but I am so glad he did! (I'm sure that if I were still here by myself we would just learn to live without internet).

Ok, the moment you've all been waiting for (at least the moment I've been waiting for!)........





Drum roll please.....




We bought a house! YES! We OWN a house! Three days ago we had no idea this was coming and the Lord has just placed this beautiful (and i mean beautiful) home into our laps. I don't even know where to begin except to tell you....we bought a house!

This house has been for sale for a while from a wonderful couple that is retiring to the States (he was Jonathan's art teacher). We even looked at this house in April when we were here with Kimmy for the week (to find a house to rent) yet we wrote it off as a possibility for us since we weren't even considering buying a house at that time and it seemed way out of our range financially (they actually had two houses together they wanted to sell but now they've separated them so that the cost is cut in half). They are even giving us a great deal since we can give them a dollar transfer, they want the house to be used in the ministry and also I'm sure they'd like to just bless us (they told us today they're so happy we'll be the ones moving into the home they've put so much heart and soul into). We were offered a few loans from supporters which ended up being just enough to put a big down-payment on the house and then pay the rest off in monthly payments.

The past 6 months has been a roller coaster for me emotionally. We were sure that the Lord wanted us to get financing for a house in the States that we could rent out while here in Brazil. Three houses I had my heart set on at different times but all three fell through (the last one fell through at the last step of financing and just a few weeks before we returned here!). Then we had the other house in this town that we thought for sure would be the "one". Three days ago I was finding contentment in staying in this rented house 'til the Lord said otherwise. Now I am beside myself to think that He is placing a house so much better than all of the houses we have already looked at! If you stuck all 5 of them in front of me I would most definitely choose this one. And wow, how awesome will it be to call something our home. We can do what we want with it and at the same time not be throwing money away on rent. Jonathan is a little nervous at this big step since it's such a big chunk of money (should I say our supporter's money) yet we both have a peace about it. An incredible peace about it. We really hope that this house will be used to bless many others besides just ourselves.

I'm only going to insert a few pictures here since I'll have fun spreading them out in different posts (and maybe after we move in so that you can see how the house looks with our stuff). But a few bonuses about the house include a separate one room/one bathroom guest facility. You can all come visit us and have your own little "casinha"! Another bonus is the pool...at first I didn't consider it a huge benefit but now I realize how fun Karis will have and how many opportunities we will have to bless others with it.

So here is a front view of the house (the pool is off to the right)


The main part of the house has 2 bedrooms/2 baths yet there is a separate room (off of a little court-yard area) that we plan to use as an office, etc. The room is big enough that we could use it as a guest room as well, if we wanted to. The house is oozing with charm (stole that description from a friend). I can't wait to show it off later!

Today after we took a walk-through of the house to make sure we really did sense a peace about it I spent some time painting some odds and ends pieces of furniture (to hide the dings). I was dreaming about the house, of course, but heard Karis say "mommy, come find me". I looked to the side and this is what I saw!

I said "oh, Karis, where did you go?"

"I'm under my hands" she replied. She did this a few more times throughout the day (covering her eyes with her hands). It is too funny. She used to do this before we moved but I thought she had grown out of it. Sometime I'll have to post a video we took of her today doing the same thing on her slide...

Anywho, the plans now are to move to our new, adorable, out-of-this-world home that I totally don't deserve beginning September 8th. If we can get totally moved in by the 15th then we won't have to pay another months rent here! That should be easy as our house is now organized and we've downsized from lots of junk we've held onto for a while.

I'm off to dream about the house...



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pictures of our home (for the time being).

I've discovered that I always have more to say or post about after I've had a good, strong cup of coffee (or two). Since it's been several hours since I had my one cup of coffee this morning I don't feel like I have much to write about! But Jonathan did take a few new pictures of the house so I thought I'd post a few (of the more organized rooms).

But before I show some pictures would you believe that we may be moving AGAIN next month? It is a loooooong story and there are so many unanswered questions that I won't bore you with the details (not now anyways, maybe after we get internet at home and after I drink some strong coffee I'll oblige :-)

For now here are a few pictures of our present home...


Kitchen
(it is very big but ends up being a little tight with our table in there which we'll probably move onto the porch, eventually...IF we stay in this house:-)



Karis' room
(pretty small but just right for her!)


Bathroom
(don't you like the strategic place of the mirror above the toilet? a little odd having one right next to the medicine cabinet but it definitely fixes our "problem" for now.


Now it's time for lunch so it's a good thing I don't have much to say!



Friday, August 8, 2008

A really cheerful post!

Ok, trying something new here!





Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Cheerful Post.

I need to make a confession: I’m a whiner. This tendency to whine and complain comes so naturally to me. Can it be considered a forte? If so, consider it my #1 forte. I knew as soon as I started this blog that it would be a strong temptation for me to use it as a tool for venting and so this is something I’ve been aware of from the beginning. I would love to be like my friend Angie who has probably never complained in her life. She somehow manages to be open and honest when she is facing challenges in her life, yet she does so in a non-complaining way. How does she do it? (I know you’re reading Angie but since you can’t figure out how to comment you can’t try to convince us that you do complain every once-in-a-while!) I say all of this to let you know (for those who don’t know me well or who haven’t noticed the whiney posts on here) that this post may appear to be whiney but because it contains events from the past it is merely presenting the facts. Surely it’s not considered whining at this point, is it? If I’m happy, content and have no complaints at the present moment? Either way, if you begin to feel sorry for me (us)...please don’t...even I don’t feel sorry for myself right now and that is saying something!

It would be marvelous to be able to tell all of you that we are settled into our comfy/cute little house, however that is not the case (I am saying that in a cheery voice. Just picture the smile on my face and the non-whiney voice). One problem is that I can’t convince myself that we’re settled ‘til we have a toilet seat. And that’s not a complaint as I’ve become rather accustomed to not having one (really). It just doesn't seem right to say we’re settled if we’re missing that particular apparatus. I don’t know why, that’s just how I feel. The reason we don’t have a toilet seat is because at some point in time somebody decided that square toilet bowls are fancier/nicer than round toilet bowls. And our fancy (and very black) toilet is one of those fancy ones. Maybe that’s why I don’t mind not having a seat yet, because it just feels fancy:-) Anyway, because our toilet is a fancy one and at the same time an old one, the brand of toilet is rather rare this day and age and hardly anybody carries seats for them. We still don’t have a plan of action but one possibility may be to have a wooden one made and then polished. A few friends who had the same problem were able to find round seats that fit just fine...maybe that’s the easiest answer. Either way I knew that there were many readers out there checking my blog every day just to see if I posted something more about our non-existent toilet seat and so I felt compelled to explain:-)

Actually the above wasn’t planned. What I really wanted to not complain about were the events below. This is what happened…

As Jonathan worked on important things and I only had non-important things to work on I thought, “gee, how nice would it be to hang up these two pictures.”



Being that these frames are black and no room in our house has black in it except our bathroom (with this very black, fancy toilet)…



I decided this would be the perfect spot, just above the fancy toilet! I was partly convinced because there was already a nail in the wall which could hold one frame and one tile underneath would be a perfect spot for another nail, to hold the other picture. I shared my non-important but recent idea with Jonathan who was willing to set aside his important tasks for this one non-important task. He had doubts, yet I guess decided to not voice them to me in order to do something that he knew would make me happy (is he great or what?). So he began drilling what would soon be the hole for the second nail, underneath the already existent nail. “Tudo bem” (everything was good at this point). But then the common sense thought came to him to take out the bent, rusted nail and replace it with a shorter, nicer nail. Seconds later the cry of desperation could be heard clearly on the other side of the house. Apparently the already-existent nail was plugging up a hole in the water pipe which Jonathan thought must have been installed to the side of the already-existent nail since it apparently hadn’t punctured the pipe. We had about 5 or 6 places in the tile wall that were squirting out water as the entire wall filled with water (unfortunately I wasn’t thinking about my blog at this moment and didn’t take a picture of the water spewing wall. Wish I had.)

Since this bathroom didn’t have a shut-off valve in the bathroom (or anywhere else in the house) we had to call a friend to have his son crawl through the tiny opening in the attic to shut off the water valve to our bathroom. Thank you Lord, no more wall-fountains in the bathroom! Even better, the friend we called felt sorry for us so we got a dinner invitation out of the whole thing! And if you think it doesn’t get any better than this (am I trying too hard to be cheery?) Jonathan heard of a way to perhaps fix the pipe without busting out the entire wall and replacing the pipe, so we’re trying that now. This is what our wall above the toilet looks like at the moment…


You can tell by the smile on his face that this picture was taken after the fact.




We’ll find out today or tomorrow if it worked. In the meantime we have water everywhere except the bathroom, which is still functional with one bucket of water next to the toilet and a big bucket of water in the shower. Ah, life is good.


And here's a picture for you, Meg (since you say it's always good to end with a picture of the munchkin). Here she is with one of her many friends (who happen to be boys:-)





Sunday, August 3, 2008

Small Town Living

The house is a mess but it's all coming together, slowly but surely! Our final things arrived on Saturday, so now we have a place to put the stuff in boxes. It's starting to feel like home and I've already decided that I'm really going to live living in this town, on the side of town where our house is! So far all of the neighbors we've met seem really nice and they seem to enjoy my funny accent...

A friend of mine introduced me to an "horta" just down the road from us. It's basically a large vegetable garden where a family sells produce super cheap (gotta like that!). I've decided to forget my previous idea of trying to grow cilantro myself since I can buy a bag full for 50 cents (the convenience of going on a short bike-ride has won out). I also bought a bag full of broccoli (it's different then the broccoili we get in the States) for around 75 cents. I enjoy being able to welcome greens back into my life! We've been living on mostly processed flour products for a while now..ugh.

No house pictures but I'm anxious to get things set up enough to where it is picture-friendly!

Thankfully we have...

Dressers

A stove

Washing machine!

Still to come are...

Toilet seat

Phone

Internet (it's actually been therapeutic not having internet access or email for a bit!)

I have a feeling after this week things will be running smoothly in the Kroeker home.

Here is a short rendition of Karis' prayer last night...

"Dear Lord, thank you for Karis. Help Karis play, and help Karis have fun. Karis play at the playground with Sarah and Kiera and John. And help Karis have fun. Be with Papai and Uncle Mike and Aunt Kelli and baby Emily. In Jesus names, Amen".