Thursday, January 19, 2012

Una Campiona

Kate just finished her third week of swimming.  And my, what a champion-in-the-making she is!  If you read the Saturday to Sunday post from this past weekend, she ventured out into the pool all by herself for the first time - with five floats -  just last week.  Now, just a week later, she is 5 minus 4 floats - just the backpack float on people!

From the balcony
You can see all the floats... this is at the beginning of class.
A few minutes later... no dumbbells.
Muy feliz!
"Patea, patea" - kick kick!
Now with no arm floaties, but with the dumbbells.  She's very concentrated!
Just holding onto little toy rings now...
Sola! Una campiona!

We Got Mail!

Folks, we received our very first piece of mail here in Costa Rica!  It was totally unexpected and made our day on Monday.  It was on our steps, thrown in through the gate.  Check out the crazy long address - it's given as directions more than an address.  And often, mail just never arrives because of this and the less-than-ideal mail system.  It was a Baby Announcement from a friend from Seattle! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday to Sunday

A review of the last 9 days:

Last Saturday: The first two short-term mission teams of the year arrived on Friday and so on Saturday, we were invited to hang out with one of them at the Project (a team from a Korean church in New Jersey, who has come for the past 3 years).  They played a fun water-balloon game with the kids in the houses and ate a pizza lunch.  It was GREAT to see the love this group of people had for all of the kids: they even had brought an outfit and a brand new pair of shoes for each kid – donated by people in their church.  It was a treat to watch the children receive the bags with their new outfit inside and to watch their expressions as they opened them.  It was like Christmas all over again! I stupidly forgot my camera however and have ZERO photos!

Having two fabulous teams serving selflessly and loving the kids and the people here was such an encouragement to us as a family and a reminder of the great work that God is doing here at the Project.
The teams listening to Steve talk about the Abraham Project.
 Last Sunday: Church, nap, then another little road trip to the same park we went to the weekend before.  Beautiful, gorgeous views and a nice drive through some more rural/small town parts of the country.

Monday: We finally resumed Spanish classes after two weeks off.  We took one week off, and then our teacher was sick for the first week of January, so it was great to get back into things and have something to wake up for.

Tuesday: Spanish in the morning and swimming class for Kate in the pm.

Wednesday: A day of meetings.  It’s our day off from Spanish (our teacher can’t drive into the city on Wednesdays) so we met with Steve Thomas, the lead missionary here, to discuss ways in which we can support him.  We will be helping to improve the website for the Abraham Project and working on the Abraham Project blog, among other things. Afterwards Joe was part of two other business meetings regarding the upcoming construction jobs at the Project, mainly the roof on the new, unfinished Multi-Purpose building.     
This will all be covered by a roof... one day.
That afternoon, we went over to one of the children’s homes to have “cafecitto” with Gabby and Esteban, the tios.  It was a great afternoon of drinking coffee, eating cinnamon bread, and getting to know them better.  And it was all in Spanish people!  Woohoo!  They have such a heart for God and for the children they are parenting in the homes, and it is so inspiring to witness this.

Thursday: Spanish class - all week during class we had been watching the teams sweat as they dug out the dirt below for the new cement floor/field that will be poured.  Again, the blessing and energy that the teams brought was life-giving!  Then in the afternoon we had more swimming.  This class, Kate finally went in the pool without the teacher – with a TON of flotation devices.  She was petrified to leave the edge of the pool by herself at first, but after the buoyant backpack, arm floaties, and two ‘dumbbell’ floaties to hold on to, she figured it out and bouyed herself out to the pool! She was a sight to see with all those floaties! (But I didn't bring my camera!!!)

They are lowering the dirt by 6 inches all the way across - all by pick-axe and wheelbarrow.  No Bobcats here!

Friday: Spanish and a then a nice laid back evening with friends.  We ate a delish Greek salad for dinner.  Yum!

Saturday: Joe went and played basketball for the first time here in Costa Rica.  He had a good time, got to sweat, and even happened upon an organic outdoor market that we are going to go to next weekend!

Sunday: This morning Fernando brought a live mouse into the house… played with it a bit… meanwhile I was screaming like a little girl… and finally Joe chased the live but petrified mouse out of the house with a broom!  That darn cat!!

And then Church… our next hurdle is getting Kate into the Sunday school without crying.  She’s pretty much overcome her aversion to daycare (Thank You Jesus) but now we can’t go to church without one of us having to take her outside to the playground.  So that is our next little project for her – get her used to Sunday school!

Thank you all for reading this little blog and for encouraging us along this journey!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Snakes, Sleepovers, and Swimming

Snakes, sleepovers, and swimming.  This is how we have started our New Year.  Well, some of these things were already history by the time 2012 rolled in… but that doesn’t really matter.

Fernando brought a snake into the house the other night.  We heard some strange, very dramatic deep meows while we were in the kitchen cooking and finally Joe declares, “What in the world is going on with the cat!?” 

I go to investigate.

I see a black rope coiled up at Fernando’s feet in the dining room.  Except for that the rope is still moving – slightly.  And Fernando is batting at it and licking his chomps.  The snake is about to become dessert.  Joe, the sling-the-snake-out-of-the-house Hero comes to the rescue and uses a dust pan with a long handle to scoop the half-dead snake OUT.  Except he accidently slings it up onto the roof.  It can’t slither back down and inside… can it?
Snake #1
About 30 minutes later, with friends over by this point, we find another snake in the hallway.  Is it the same darn snake?  Or his baby cousin?  You look at the pictures and judge for yourself.  I happen to think we had two snakes in our house that night.  
Snake #2
On happier notes (snakes aren’t un-happy I guess, they are just heeby-jeeby-ly gross), on Saturday morning we discovered a beautiful park outside of the city (about a 30 minute drive east) which provided us with much-craved for time in the outdoors.  It wasn’t exactly the wilderness – ok not even close – but it’s been one of the main things we’ve missed from home.  Public green space that is.  In Seattle, we often frequented playgrounds or parks or rugged beaches with gorgeous views.  It’s difficult to find anything like that in the city of San Jose. So this was a very happy discovery!
Then, Kate had a sort-of sleep over on New Year’s Eve with her friends Caia and Isaac.  Their parents came over to celebrate with us, and the girls ended up making little beds in front of the TV before it was actually time to hit the rack.  Kate decided to go southern on us and make a palette on the floor (for all you un-southern folks, a palette is not only made of wood and used for transporting things – it’s also made of blankets and put on the floor for sleeping).  As for the adults, we just ate and chatted and ate some more and watched the Toros on TV.  It’s a Costa Rican Christmas tradition.  Check out the first minute or so of this YouTube video:   We were greatly entertained and it was a memorable way to celebrate the New Year.
And finally, Kate started swimming Tuesday.  She told us beforehand, “I don’t like my swimmin’ teasher,” but then we quickly reminded her that she hadn’t even met her teacher yet and that we would be with her the whole class.  She is taking class with Isaac and she LOVES it.  A huge bonus for us.  (She also turned a corner this week at school – after a 2 week break – and is actually playing with the other kids and enjoying it more!  She still cries hysterically when we drop her off but quickly stops and according to her teachers is doing ‘excellente’!)  So 2012, here we come!  
New swim cap.
Getting warmed up doing some stretches.
Happy girl!
They get a big marshmellow and stamps on their hands after each class.