Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Sweet Wedding at the Farm!

The first group of students who came to the institute are beginning their 3rd and final year. All 3 guys were single when they came. That first year was difficult. They were pioneers! They joke about it now, but they didn't have power and a lot of the times no water. Now there is both! It would have been a difficult place for a female. Last December Pedro got married. God sent him a jewel! This December Rigoberto got married. 

His wife was one of the teens that started coming to our church plant. She put her faith in Christ early on and began to attend faithfully. Honestly we were a little worried about this engagement at first just because she was young, but Rigo has definitely found a good thing! Both of these soon to be pastor's wives (Pedro's and Rigo's) are sharp! They attend the institute as well. I am very impressed with their hard work ethic and how well they apply themselves in their classes. I am just SO thankful that God sent them both such wonderful wives to work along side them! Both couples went through our sweet friends, Jim and Bonnie's marriage and family class last year and Rigo and Juana are currently taking a premarital class with Jimmy. (Not really "pre" anymore, but still helpful.)   

Rigo and Juana had a legal ceremony back in November. They didn't consider themselves married though until they had their church wedding in December. 
Rigo and Juana
 They had a party at Juana's house afterwards to celebrate. They served turkey caldo with a whole bunch of cabbage... SO good!
Juana and Rigo wanted Jimmy to officiate their church wedding and they wanted to have it at the farm. I was excited about helping Juana decorate. From what I had seen of Kekchi weddings before is that they use lots of white crepe paper! Juana's favorite color is purple, so I asked if it would be ok if we incorporated some of that.
 It was fun! I made some crepe paper flowers and asked her what she thought. She liked them, yay! Then the 4 of us, Jimmy, Rigo, Juana, and I, spent the Saturday before decorating everything. 

Here is their wedding table:
 They wanted a backdrop behind them at the altar. For most of the ceremony the bride and groom sit in 2 chairs in the front.
 The wedding party sits behind them on either side.
 Then we had all the tables we could fit along the sides for the meal afterwards.
 The day of the wedding, Juana changed at her parents house and then walked for 40 minutes to the farm/church with this crowd behind her! Evidently that is a tradition. It was really important to her mom.
 Here is Rigo with his mom and his family right before the wedding. His dad left when he was little.
 Here are the beautiful rings they picked out!
 The place was packed. The kids and I stood up the whole time. 
 Jonah and Silas were the ring bearers and Eden was the flower girl!
 I thought Jimmy did a beautiful job with the short sermon before the ceremony. It was very similar to the devotional that was shared at our wedding, so many rich Biblical truths!
 Everyone passed by their table afterwards giving them presents.
 We are so happy for them! They are truly adorable together!
This is just a side note, but I think these are the luckiest Kekchi ladies in all of Petén. Jimmy treats me so well all the time. He makes me feel so valued, loved, safe, and even spoiled. He has spent so much one-on-one time with them talking about being a good husband and God's plan for marriage. These ladies will be cherished and treated very well! 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Name Battle, Which Team Are You On?

Some sweet friends watched our kiddos for us one day while Jimmy and I flew to the capital to meet with my doctor for the first time. I was 16 weeks by that time and we really thought we would be able to find out the gender. We already knew by that time, last time, that Eden was a girl. My doctor had been out of town for a while, so it was difficult to get an appointment. It was equally as difficult to get Jimmy to take a day off. He wanted to go with me though, for my first appointment. We booked our ticket and then at 7AM, when we arrived at the airport, Avianca said that the flight had been cancelled. When would all of these things align again?! I just knew God was going to work something out, just because He always does for us. Our missionary pilot friend, Paul, just happened to be at the airport that morning, cleaning his plane for a flight later that day! With all the other Avianca passengers about to miss their connecting international flights, we were able to find enough people to go with us on Paul's plane, that it covered our cost. (Thank you, Paul!) See... only God could have worked that all out!
This is Jimmy's "Would you just get in the plane!" face.
There are always plenty of errands to run in the capital when Jimmy is there, but our first one was seeing our baby! That baby checked out to be perfectly healthy in every way, but he/she would not move to a position where we could tell if it was a boy or a girl, typical stubborn little child of mine. This kid moves more than my last 3 kids combined, 1-2 punches like you wouldn't believe, but this time it wasn't budging! That baby sat in this little Schroeder pose the entire time. (Doesn't it look like babyD is bent over playing a piano!)
My doctor said that he would be there in May to deliver this sweet baby! I was relieved. If he wasn't there I would have to give birth in the States. That would put us there for like 3 months. That stinks! It is probably a little bit more expensive to give birth in Guatemala now, but we can't be away for 3 months.

 Back we went to Petén without knowing the gender. But! Later, when Jimmy's Mom and Grandma were here, I went to the nice doctor we found in Petén and he said that he was 75% sure it was a boy. Haha! We love our boys and we love Eden, so whatever the baby was, we were going to be really excited! I was thinking it would be great for Eden to have a sister, but we were also thinking that this last kid would be with us for 4 years all by themselves once the rest leave for college. It will be kind of an only child situation. Which would be easier by themselves in Petén, boy or girl? We were thinking boy. Also, with the boys, all I wanted was bread and vegetables. With Eden, all I wanted was chocolate and cake! This baby is made up of like 90% bread and vegetables, I really didn't think there was any way it could be a girl. 
Party in the OB's office!
In Petén I'm spoiled, you can just show up, walk right in with whomever you want and get an ultrasound from a doctor. It cost about $20. I wouldn't ever want to give birth in Petén, but the prenatal care is pretty good, once you find a good doctor. (That part is really hard.)

This past Friday I flew to Guate again, this time by myself. I'm about 25 weeks. My doctor said it is a 100% sure thing that it is a boy! Everything looked great. Jimmy was concerned about the number of Braxton Hicks contractions I had been having. My doctor said no worries. He did tease me about my weight. I've gained 24 pounds, most since the last appointment. I'm ok with it. It's from healthy food, and I think the baby will eat it all once he's born, like the others did. This little boy does have long legs already! Maybe that is why he kicks so much, he's squished. I love his little face. I just want to kiss it!
I have a lot of boy things already, so I was really trying to practice some restraint while in the capital with the gender information. I did purchase his towel, since all my kids have one. It's a shark.
I think baby shoes are kind of ridiculous until they can walk, but I wanted him to have a full "going home from the hospital" outfit. The jeans were Jonah and Silas', but I thought he should have some shirts free from GERD stains (thank you Silas!). I will cut the little thermal sleeves part off once we get back to Petén. But seriously... the cutest little man shoes ever.
So, now to the name battle. I have been calling this baby Moses since before we knew it was a boy. Jimmy loved that name. I think there is lots of importance in a name. My kids' names fit their personalities pretty perfectly. 

I love the story of Moses. It might be my favorite. Jael is another, but Jimmy refused to let me name E that. Anyway, before we knew Eden was a girl, Jimmy called her Titus for about 3 months. He had forgotten about that name and then I had to go and open my mouth the other day. Now, he is 100% team Titus. There is a big battle going on in our house. The kids are regularly asked which team they are on.
Thank you, Melissa, for this photo!
Titus (Tito in Spanish, long e sound) in the Bible was left by Paul to train leaders and establish churches. That was his whole goal. That's why Jimmy loves that name. Moses (Moises in Spanish) was used by God to lead His people out of bondage and to their spiritual inheritance. One of our close friends and mentors shared with us a couple years ago that that is what he felt was going to happen in Petén, with these new batch of pastors being grounded in the Bible and not mixing in the traditional witch doctor beliefs which is so prevalent here among existing pastors. There is a lot of meaning in both of those names!

So, Titus vs. Moses, which will it be. Most people here like Moises and most people in the States like Titus. "Baby Moe"... so cute! What do you think? We all know Jimmy's Team Titus will probably win...

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Family Traditions #31: Christmas 2015

Jonah and Silas were looking forward to decorating the tree. We started putting it together one afternoon after their nap and then Jimmy helped us once he got home from class.
Eden didn't know what all the fuss was about, but once we said there would be hot chocolate at the end, she was all in!
 Jimmy is always in charge of the lights. He makes a big deal out of it and that makes the kids even more excited!
I love these guys!

There was hot chocolate like always. Last year when we finished we watched White Christmas. I thought they would like the colorfulness of it and all the songs. Nope, they hated it. This year we watched It's a Wonderful Life... black and white and all, they stuck with it to the end and loved it! Of course their deep take away was "Dada, excuse me, excuse me, I burped." Boys!
Bonnie and Jim stopped by before going on a little furlough to visit their kids. For the second year in a row they brought chocolate peanut butter balls... the best thing EVER. I hope that little tradition keeps happening! I didn't share.
There were lots more evenings with hot chocolate throughout the month of December!
We did our traditional advent devos each night. 
 Eden is doing good remembering the Christmas story now. She was so cute telling the story to Dada!
I had gotten a little worried when she was with Jimmy in Santa Elena and said, "Look Dada, baby Moses!" when she saw this:
The semester ended at the farm, then Jimmy's parents and grandparents came for a trip (it was wonderful!) Then one of the students got married at the farm and then we were left with less than a week before Christmas! Jimmy really wanted to make Eden's Christmas present. He got to this point the first evening:
 I had been collecting supplies from the thrift store here and then when we were on furlough last year I went to all the antique stores right outside of Wichita! (One of my favorite things to do.) 
I found all kinds of old mini pots and pans and mini salt and pepper shakers. They had the cutest, well-made things for her kitchen! When you live in Petén you have to plan way ahead, so this project was over a year in the making, even though it was executed in about 3 days!

Right before we left for our Christmas Eve outreach at church Jimmy put on the finishing touches. 
We did our caroling outreach again. It is SO MUCH FUN! We all get together to sing and wrap cookies. We have a little devotional and then we head out to the village next door.  
All but two of our students and their families went back to their home villages for Christmas. We had two new families come for this outreach and then they have kept coming since then. 
It is hard to get good pictures in the dark. We walked and walked and walked, this pregnant lady's feet required several days of recovery. It was so dark that it was hard to even tell who we were handing cookies to, but they were all very kind as they received them and inside was an invitation to our church. 
We got home late, but still did our one present on Christmas Eve tradition. 
It's always a game we can all play together. This year it was Quoridor from Duluth Trading. It is such a well made game. We have played it probably 100 times, the boys and even Eden can play it by themselves without help from us and we took it down for one of our Youth Group nights at church and the teens loved it too. We are game people.
After showers Christmas Eve Jimmy said, "One more game". That turned into about 5. 
 This is what our tree looked like as we went to sleep late that night!
Here are some of my favorite photos from Christmas Day:
I made Eden 2 slings (one for little babies and one for large ones) for her dolls. She is a little mommy all the time. I had her in one of those until she was 1, so I am sure once she sees her baby brother in one she will want to do the same with her baby dolls. She hasn't ever seen a gringo use a baby sling before though, so she thought it was like the sheets the Kekchi mommys balance their babies in on their backs and even hang in the middle of their houses, like a baby hammock. 

Here she is skyping with Kiki and Papa and has it behind her! She's such a little Kekchi girl!
Jimmy saw me like a handmade ring from a shop in El Salvador on Instagram. Then he secretly hunted the shop down and ordered the ring I liked. Only thing is, the shop owner took a picture of the rings (there are 2) with the mailing address and posted it to Instagram. I saw the photo on my feed with the address going to Petén and thought, "Wow! Someone else in Petén likes this shop, small world." Then a couple seconds later I thought, "No... that has to be me, lol!" Poor Jimmy, his genius surprise was ruined. I was so excited though!!! Here is the turquoise one below and he also ordered an empty one that I will use some beads I got from my Great Grandmother's collection (who made lots of jewelry) to fill. Jimmy is so thoughtful when it comes to gifts. He has always been really good at it.
My boys are big Star Wars fans. They saw the latest one in Santa Elena in Spanish right when it came out. MaG and G left all kinds of Star Wars presents for Christmas for them when they were down here. 
 Here they are skyping with them:
Eden got the beautiful pink party dress she immediately changes into from them too.  

Here is Eden after she opened her kitchen!
 She played with it for a long time and then went and found Jimmy and said, "Dada, it is the perfect kitchen!!!" Cutiepie!
 All 3 play together with the kitchen a lot. We have since moved it into Eden's room. 
The boys' big present from us this year was bunk beds. They have been asking for those since before last Christmas. I forgot to get a picture of it all built Christmas day. Silas was cute helping Dada hammer it together. Here is one when they were napping today.
Silas is my only child that sleeps normal-ways in the bed.
The same carpentry shop where we found the stools in our kitchen last year, builds bunk beds. They are super sturdy with a safety railing all around and have a huge drawer underneath perfect for all the Legos! They were cheap and we finally didn't have to build something ourselves. Win-win. Also, since we have a 3rd boy coming I needed to fit another bed in their room somehow, so win-win-win! In the beginning they both wanted the top. They worked out an agreement where the swapped every 2 sleeps. But, in Petén the top gets pretty hot and they both ended up wanting the bottom. Silas our little peace keeper said Jonah could have the bottom. The bottom is dark like a fort so they think it's cool.  
Jimmy got a desk from the same carpentry shop. Love that place! It is rustic, but solid, all wood and a very fair price. We looked at Office Depot in the capital. One faux wood desk from there cost more than this desk plus the bunk beds. Crazy! That carpentry shop is several hours away from our house so... lucky for Jimmy or I would be stalking it.
Later that night we had our Birthday Party for Jesus, with our traditional Angel Food Cake. We sang with Kiki and Papa. Then we did our last advent devo and put baby Jesus on the tree!
Our family had a wonderful Christmas! I hope you all did too!
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