Saturday, December 28, 2013

2 Minutes to Lose an iPad, a Passport and a Wedding Ring

I (Jimmy) drove to Guate last week to pick up my in-laws and bring them back to Petén. Coming into town I had a list of things to pickup while in the city. I was going to run errands the morning before they arrived, but I decided to just swing by a couple places before going to the hotel that night. My Walmart stop was about as uneventful as Walmart can be a few days before Christmas and right behind the Walmart was a new Office Depot so I decided to swing by and pick up some laminating sheets for Shelley. Between church, the Institute and our own kids Shelley goes through laminating sheets like crazy.

I am aware that during Christmas time, things are much more dangerous in Guatemala than usual so as I pulled into the Office Depot I looked for a security camera and a parking lot light right in front of the store. I also put my iPad under the seat just so it wasn't sitting out. Beyond that, we have very dark tinted windows, but I didn't want the light to be just right so maybe somebody wouldn't be able to resist a smash and grab.

I bought my stuff and came back outside and drove off. As I got to the other side of the highway, I realized something was off. Music wasn't playing when I got in like when I left. It said the passenger door wasn't completely close and when I reached to close it I realized none of my cables were there. Then I lifted my hoodie off the seat and saw there was no bag either. Frantically looking under the seat hoping they missed it, I realized my iPad was gone too. I drove back to the store and turned on the lost my iphone feature hoping maybe it was a parking lot guard that stole it and the iPad was close, but whoever had taken it had already turned it off (it still hasn't been turned on).

As I inspected the car I saw they had stuck something into the passenger lock and unlocked that door leaving a hole where your key would enter.
After waiting for about an hour for the security company to do something I was able to watch the security footage. A fancy four door black pickup truck pulled into the parking lot next to my SUV and exactly 2 minutes later drove off. Here's the video footage of them pulling out of the parking space.

Exactly three weeks ago Office Depot Guatemala stopped paying for guards in the parking lot at night. The guards go home at 7pm. The security company was happy to take my report though so that maybe Office Depot will renew their contract.

The guard for the parking lot next door had just walked away and came back just in time to see the truck drive away.

Another SUV was broken into the night before in the exact same parking spot.

While I was standing waiting for the security company I went to fiddle with my ring like I often do and it wasn't there. I remembered that I had taken it off because I had spent the last several days working on Shelley's parents' room and my fingers had swelled, so I had removed my wedding ring. Not wanting to lose it, I placed it on a keychain and put it in the front zipper pocket of my backpack... the same bag they took. This was the one irreplaceable item since Shelley had it engraved right before our wedding 9.5 years ago.

 Also, Shelley's passport was in the bag, with the receipt to pick up her new one (since this one was expiring soon). It has all of her immigration stamps, so that's several days of paperwork to file all the applicable reports and immigration office wait time... Besides taking the iPad, they also ripped out all the cables in the dash.

I am very thankful I had all my cash in my pocket instead of leaving it in my bag. Also, my passport and Guatemalan checkbook were in my driver's side door and those were untouched. More than anything else I'm thankful that Shelley and the kids weren't in the vehicle waiting for me like they usually are especially now that we know locked doors don't stop people like this that know what they are doing.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Two Weeks With Kiki & Papa!

We have been looking forward to this for weeks! This was the first thing to go on our Thankful Wall during the month of November - that Kiki and Papa were coming for Christmas! 
{First dinner with Kiki & Papa}
{My mom brought me my favorite cookies she makes!}
{Eating train muffins for breakfast!}
We were able to finish our guest room in time for them to stay in our new house with us! They are here for two weeks. We have been having a blast!
They got to be part of our Christmas outreaches at our church which I will post about later
and see our new house and our new church building. We love eating breakfast with Kiki and Papa each morning!!!
The boys specially requested that Kiki bring stuff to make gingerbread cookies with them! (They have a book about a gingerbread man.)
{Can you find Jonah's Captain America Gingerbread Man?!}
Silas quickly figured out that you could squeeze the icing out of the top of the piping paper... yum! 
 Tamales are a traditional Christmas Eve meal here. Our friend Y brought us over some as a special treat, so my parents got to try them!
 We enjoy doing our night night routine with Kiki and Papa too. We read our verse books and sing songs together! Then Papa usually jokes around with Jonah and Silas and gets them all hyper again before bedtime... that's what Grandpas are for! 
 They have been playing lots of games and puzzles together. 
The boys got lots of legos for Christmas! They also got a doctor set, so Papa has pretty much been "sick" every day and needs a regular shot or two... right in the chin! 
My parents also got to see how the institute is coming along. Jimmy has been down there welding the roof and windows this week. My dad even went to help him! 
My mom helped me finish sewing all kinds of things for Eden for Christmas too. It's fun to have someone to create things with!
We are so thankful that they came to visit us!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Family Traditions #22: Thanksgiving 2013

First, thank you to everyone who prayed for Silas. He got his 6 stitches taken out Saturday. We told him it was going to burn. He laid down, didn't cry once while the doctor was taking them out, sat up, gave the doctor a fist bump, said "Gracias", and then I took him to get more ice cream! All very positive! His chin is healing well with just enough bruising left for him to milk it real good whenever he wants something... he's a stinker!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year! During the month of November we did our Thankful Wall. Each night as part of our night night routine we each wrote one thing we were thankful for on our chalkboard wall in the hallway. 
 Towards the end of the month, Eden was even catching on. We would ask her what she was thankful for and just like the boys she would say, "Ummm..." and then yell out something. Hers was usually "Mama and Dada". Very diplomatic of her! 
Our furlough threw off our garden this year. We have pumpkins growing, but not in time for Thanksgiving. I did see two imported pumpkins this year and bought one of them. 
I'm embarrassed about how much that pumpkin cost per pound, but worth ever penny to my family! 
We had enough to make 2 pies and then there is some puree in my freezer for Christmas.
We also enjoyed the seeds... another Thanksgiving tradition!
It started to get cooler in November. There were a couple of days that we even wore sweaters! 
My boys were not used to socks on slick concrete and there were a couple of wipeouts! My kids look so cute in winter clothes to me! I never get to see them in long sleeves or hoodies. 

Here is our "fall" cornhusk wreath. I love having rat free closets to store my holiday decorations in!
I hung our fall felt leaves next to our table. 
Silas asked me if they were upside down gingerbread men! 

This year we invited every missionary that we had contact info for that lives within 2 hours of here over for Thanksgiving Day. I wanted it to be kind of special, but with so many people coming we would have to use paper plates... which kind of makes it hard to make a pretty place setting. I wanted to make some table runners to dress it up a little. Jimmy told me I had a $8 budget... well that wasn't enough. I thought and thought and realized I had lots of loose woven white linen in my fabric stash (which doesn't help white plastic plates), but I also had some green fabric dye... yay! 
My fingers turned green in the process and I told the boys I had Hulk hands! They thought it was pretty cool, but then a little later Jonah said sadly, "When are Mama hands going to come back?" Glad he likes those better!

So here were our table settings. We got the palm leaves from our yard, but I did spend about $3 on flowers.
Our neighbor grows ayotes, which are the gourds on the table.
And here's the kids' table.
I was surprised about how excited my kids were about their boats. 
They were sweet and didn't eat any candy until our guests arrived!

This is our second Thanksgiving with our friends Jim and Bonnie and they have a tradition that I love. They choose verses for each person to read before the meal. I printed them inside our place cards. 
The verses chosen always seem to have a special significance. Mine was very encouraging to me. Here is all of us sharing our verse. 
I never know who God is going to bring into our lives. Friends come and go, it is part of being a missionary. I try not to be possessive or worry about how long I have with people (sometimes I'm good at that and sometimes I stink at it), but I'm really thankful for the sweet friendships that God has made available to us over the years in what seems like the middle of nowhere sometimes! 
All of us missionaries together make up a very diverse and interesting group. With such a variety, there is so much that can be learned from each other. People are from all over the United States and Canada, with all kinds of backgrounds, at all different stages of life, with so many different gifts, and involved in a broad range of ministries. It's a very dynamic collection of people, being around them helps me grow! 
Bonnie made a delicious turkey and ham. Paul and Jimmy grilled some chicken too. 
We had every side and dessert you could think of: mashed potatoes, dressing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, broccoli salad, homemade bread and ponche... the list goes on

 I think there was a lot of sweet fellowship that day!
 There was definitely of LOT of great food!
 We are very blessed!
 And have so much to be thankful to God for!
We hope that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. 
My parents arrive Thursday. We had a wonderful Christmas service last night at our church. Jimmy is working on the institute roof. There is lots of Kiki and Papa time going on and my mom and I are sewing up a storm for Eden's Christmas. Just in case I don't post before then, Merry Christmas to all of you too!

It has been raining here non stop for what seems like weeks. We constantly battle mold and mildew, but when it's cold and wet this time of year it is even worse. I have been spraying everything we own with Lysol and Vinegar! Shoes and belts are probably the worst. I always have to wipe the mildew off before wearing them.  Here is the back of one of the boys' board games that we play with on a regular basis... at least this means our belongings get disinfected on a regular basis, it's really a positive! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

A $90 Flying Lesson

Last night after church we had finished cleaning everything up and had stopped to chat just a little more before loading up the kids in the truck. Jimmy and I were in the sanctuary and Jonah and Silas were in the kitchen (attached to the sanctuary) playing with some other children. A couple weeks ago in one of the mens' meetings Jimmy had encouraged the dads to be more intentional in teaching their children about God and pastoring their families. One way was that they were supposed to start memorizing scripture together. He had passed out little booklets he had made of Psalm 23 and had encouraged them to read it every night together as a family and they would have it memorized in a week or two. Well, one of the 3 year old girls in our church was reciting Psalm 23 to me when I heard Silas start crying in the other room. I turned around for a second and saw that he had fallen, but he had gotten up and I figure he would walk it off. (I know that sounds horrible, but I didn't want to interrupt the little girl and Silas is my kid who is kind of like the "boy who cried wolf" when it comes to weeping over booboos.)

Well when she finished Silas' cries started getting worse and I got up to go check on him. Really only seconds had passed, but there was blood squirting everywhere!!!! SO much blood. There were puddles on the floor.  He was grabbing his chin. First I checked his mouth and thankfully there was no blood inside. Then I saw the gaping hole on his chin, still squirting blood. I ran to the car to get a wet wipe to put pressure on it. It soon stopped. Poor Silas was in a lot of pain. He said, "Mama I tried to fly, why didn't you catch me?" Man! Killing me! 

Jimmy had been talking too and like me initially didn't think it was anything serious until Jonah ran and told him that his brother had jumped off of a chair and hurt himself. 

We quickly loaded up the car and headed to Santa Elena (20 min away). We knew his chin needed stitches because the skin was split so far apart. I let him ride in my lap (here it's legal, but my kids usually use car seats...  I was experiencing some mom guilt though). 
{Silas' face says it all}
He had stopped crying and was pretty calm. We tried to prepare him with what was about to happen. We told him he would get a shot to numb his chin so that a doctor could sew it up. We tried to make it sound super cool but told him it would hurt. 

Silas told us more of the story too. He said that there was a little girl jumping off the tables in the kitchen. He said that she was teaching him how to jump. Then without hitting on this lesson too hard the boys and I had a talk about how just because someone else is doing something we need to make the decision for ourselves if doing what they are doing is smart or stupid... because sometimes doing something stupid can hurt really bad! 

If you would have asked me a year ago who would get stitches first I would have put my money on Jonah, but he has mostly grown out of his clumsy stage and usually makes pretty good decisions when it comes to weighing the risks. Silas, my very social child, on the other hand can be led astray very easily... we need to work on that! 

Jimmy was calling our pediatrician on the way there, but he wasn't in Petén, so he called the surgeon that removed Jimmy stitches after his Gallbladder surgery. He kindly said that he would meet us at a clinic in Santa Elena. It was 9pm by this time. It just so happened to be the same clinic where I got to see Jonah and Silas' heartbeats for the first time... nastalgic! 
Silas was worried about his "birthday shirt". Jonah and Silas call these shirts that because they wore them for the first time at their birthday party. (Mommy later got all the blood out, so he's happy.)
Jonah noticed that Silas's blood had pooled in the shape of an "A". He thought that was super cool. Then we all decided that Silas was like Captain America, who also got a shot and that made him a superhero. 
Jonah and Eden were playing with our phones while we were waiting.  Jonah happen to see this photo below that I had taken and said, "Look at Silas eyes!!! He has powers!!!!"
 Jimmy and Silas are so cute together! I loved listening to Dada's pep talk. It worked!
Poor Silas. I thought he was only going to get one shot. When it was all said and done he ended up getting 5... right in his wound. I couldn't take photos of it because his weeping was so sad. His daddy had told him before it started that it was very important that he didn't move his head... and that little 4 year old, through all that pain, never moved once! I was so proud of him. I know it hurt, you could tell by the type of crying, but he was so sweet! He never ask the doctor to stop or wiggled or anything. He held both of his daddy's hands the whole time and stayed strong. 
They put the cloth over his face when they started the stitches. Silas kept talking to us and we tried to think of anything silly to talk about to keep him from dwelling on the pain. The numbing shots didn't work very well. Every now and then Silas would stop talking and whimper in pain. I don't think there was any anesthesia for the last two stitches. He is like his mama. Numbing shots never work on me either. My mouth goes numb about an hour after I leave the dentist... epidurals are worthless. Anyway I felt like a liar, we had told him the stitches part wouldn't hurt. 
For the last two stitches Jonah stopped playing with my phone and covered his ears. He couldn't listen to his brother being in pain. 
It took 6 stitches to close it up. 
I am so thankful for this very kind doctor who came in late to help us! He was so nice and great with Silas. Here is Silas showing off his big boo boo:
 We all decided that the best medicine for such a boo boo was ice-cream! So that's where we headed next! It was a traumatic even for all of us, so it helped to cheer us up!
In 6 days he has to go back to get the stitches taken out. We have already warned him that it is going to hurt. Please pray for Silas to have just as much courage the second time!
I am SO grateful to God for keeping Silas safe and providing such a good doctor. I'm thankful that other than his chin and a bruised knee, my child did a face plant on concrete and didn't have any other damage. He might even end up with a pretty cool scar with a great story to go with it. 

So that's Silas' $90 flying lesson. Lesson learned: he can't fly. 
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