Most families are special

One of the great perks of moving is finding old boxes of memories.  Well, not really finding, more like trying to escape your parents cleaning out the house and giving you all your old stuff you thought would be stored there forever and then having to sift through it to figure out what’s worth keeping when you finally reach your destination.  And by “old stuff” I mean everything from my little ponies to elementary school progress reports to cards to my mom congratulating her on my birth (wait, why did I end up with those?!).

Old pictures are fun too, such as gems like this one.

I’ll spare you my awkward teenage years.

Something I found that is definitely going in the ‘keeper’ pile is this little book I wrote about 20 years ago about my family.

"My Family Book"

"This is my cat. He is funny. This is my sister. She is pretty."

I like to think I wrote it in order of my favorites, so naturally, the cat is first.

"This is my b(ig) brother. This is my mom."

"This is my dad. He is looking the other way. This is my l(ittle) brother."

Is it weird that I remember making this?  And I remember messing up my dad’s face and thinking it was brilliant that I would hide my mistake by pretending I needed to make him look the other way.  Yes, brilliant.

"This is me. Most families are special. My family is special and yours is too."

So prophetic.  Most families are special, but not all.  But don’t worry because ours are. (Whew).

Yes, my family is special.  Which is why I’m going cross-country to Virgina to visit them!  Well, mostly just that pretty sister and b. brother of mine, but still.  Its hard when we all 6 of us live in 5 different states and 4 different time zones, so I’ll take what I can get!

Go west, young…family

We made it here on Thursday and have been settling in nicely since then.  I just need to get used to the lack of humidity and the idea of wearing socks in summer (all you Texans may realize what a shock this is…).  I took a lot of pictures from our trip, but first, proof we were in Omaha…

Old Rosenblatt...my husband was sad my cycle wouldn't cooperate so we could be there for the college world series at the new stadium!

And then a few more of our trip…

Basically finished the sock by the time we got out of Nebraska

Sock #2...

(Nevada)

Random hike with the hubs

Finally!

And eventually made it to our little house :)

Cute huh?  I think I’m going to be doing some canning because we have apricots and figs on the property, as well as oranges.  Any one know of any good recipes?

And today, Pentacost Sunday, was a good first Sunday to come to a parish because there was a ministry fair going on.  We asked about marriage prep or young adult groups and there pretty much are none…but the priest has plans to change that soon so hopefully we can be a part of it!  We’re pretty much jumping in head first,  but they seemed excited to have some NFP teachers!  They don’t know what they just got themselves into :)

(New) Homeward Bound

Well, I finally popped this morning and got to leave Omaha. There were rumors of LUFS after yesterday’s 2.6 cm measurements (does that even happen? I’m thinking that’s why I have such ovulation pains…they’re big suckers!) but we went in this morning to see it all gone and shriveled up. Whew. I had no idea what LUFS is and I guess there’s still a chance that I could have something like that given that’s my “polycycstic-ish ovary” but at least it wasn’t this time. (But after reading about Rita’s experience with LUFS…maybe its not all its cracked up to be?!  Congrats to her!)

The 9 hour car ride through Nebraska/Colorado was pretty painful, but I’m glad we just got it over with. We were going to take a nice leisurely drive out west and see Mt. Rushmore or Yellowstone but since my ovulation was delayed we decided to just head west as soon as possible to our new home!  This way it will be only a 3 day trip.  I can’t wait to get out there and start a new chapter in our life!

Random things from our trip

1. I now look pregnant.  Seriously, like at least 12 weeks.  Mike keeps telling me its practice.  So I guess I’m practicing being pregnant with this fluid baby.  At least until I adsorb it.

2.  I used to have what I considered to be a cute outie belly button.  Now I have  a Franken-belly button!

3.  Being treated at a Catholic hospital by Catholic doctors where you can talk freely about NFP as a reliable medical method is probably the coolest thing ever.

4. PPVI nurses are secretly angels.  They are the nicest, sweetest nurses ever and I couldn’t feel more respected in their office.

5.  Going back to my hometown was surreal.  And awesome.  I loved growing up there and so many things were the same!

6. Apparently I get pretty nauseous on anesthesia.  So I was totally zonked out all day yesterday and last night.  Think maybe its worn off by now, so I’ve been able to eat today.  Still in some hefty pain.

7.  Had our post-op appointment today.  So, now I have that information.  I guess I’ll write more about that later.

Middle America

Well, we arrived  in Omaha tonight!  Its been 14 years since I’ve been back here and believe me, I thought if anything we’d be coming back to visit friends or see the College World Series (so did my husband!) but I guess this works too.  We plan to do a little pilgrimage to the town I grew up in too while we’re here, (as well as all the other ones all over the country/world)  so that should be exciting.  I’m really excited to see my old schools and houses!

This will be a little picture post, since the name of the game is fun, so here’s a brief run down of what we’ve been doing.

Saying goodbye to the lab in Texas

Did you really think I was just sitting in the car?  Knitting progress through Texas.

More knitting progress through Arkansas...but took it in front of the wrong state...doh!

We stopped for few nights in Arkansas to see some family and go to Riverfest.  Completed a 5k and attended some concerts.  And saw the Irish dancers!

After our Retro 5k

Irish dancers

As I told my husband, most people put pictures of their babies/kids next to inamate objects on their blogs to show their growth.  Here I am posting pictures of my sock.  Not even my dog, but a sock.  How much more pathetic can I get?  Maybe that will change soon…(wait…was that a glimmer of hope you just witnessed?? All of your pep talks may be paying off!)

And the best medicine to calm some fears, meeting someone wiser and more experienced in this department…I bring you the proof….

wait, who's that in the background?? :)

Finally got to meet this girl and her husband, about a year after the first time I emailed her and said I may be coming to Omaha.  “Mr. Mysterio” as my husband called her at first (did I tell you that?!), turned out to be real and not an axe murder (whew!).  Hit it off right away and am very glad that we had a chance to meet before the surgery to be reminded that I really am a wuss and it will be ok!

Anyway, stay tuned and I’ll try to update how it goes and eventually, if I ever finish that sock!

(Ok, maybe one of those is more exciting than the other….)

…..

You better believe I’m talking about the sock!!

…..

Wow, I’m in a weird mood.

How I interpret reserved maternity seats

Once when I was boarding a crowded bus in Mexico, I saw this sign above one row of seats:

Thinking that this was the seat that would make me pregnant (and they had left it open for me! they knew I was coming!) naturally I sat down in it.

But the more I sat there and stared at the picture, the more I decided that this seat might actually have an equal chance at giving me a larger-yet-saggier chest, a hunchback, and a huge ba-dunka dunk.  However, I thought the possible pros outweighed the cons, so I continued to sit.

(Un)Fortunately, to date I have not ended up with any of the above.

But then again, neither has my husband.

Oh well.

An exchange of hope

I saw this picture today and thought, wow, I have a good looking husband did I really go to India?

Traveling is not something I take for granted and is something that I hoped and hoped for for so long.   I get giddy like a schoolgirl as soon as I plan a trip and quite literally bounce off the walls.  I always wanted to travel when I was younger and I’ve always been drawn to the idea of distant places, probably because my dad would bring back strange mementos from all over the world but pictures were few and far between. So I was left to dream.

Exactly 5 years ago I did my first (and only) international service trip.  I was thinking about applying to the Peace Corps after I graduated college and knew I needed to have more experience doing similar activities if I was going to commit to two years of it.  We were to go down to a tiny village in Nicaragua with a group called Engineers without Borders and install a solar panel at their school to produce electricity.  We’d also be performing a health survey and testing the household wells for contamination in order to plan the next trip.

I wasn’t Catholic at the time.  And it wasn’t remotely even on the radar. So imagine my surprise when I was looking back through pictures and found this one:

I’m the one chilling on top of the ladder installing wires in the church, right up next to a giant crucifix and a giant mural of Jesus.  A little foreshadowing, perhaps?  We were supposed to install the solar panel onto the school, but when we got down to the community, the residents told us they wanted it to serve their church instead.  This being a secular trip, I remember we all talked about it and eventually justified the change in plans because the church really served as their community center so we wouldn’t really be promoting their church.

I’m not lying when I said I developed a love of children on this trip.  My younger brother is only a few years younger and we never really lived around younger cousins, and although I’ve done my fair share of babysitting for neighborhood kids growing up, my experience with little kids was limited.  You know those people who just attract kids?

My friend reading "Huevos verdes con jamon"

Yeah, that wasn’t ever me.  That was always the other girl.

Kids didn’t scare me, I just didn’t know how to act around them.  But boy, these kids broke me down!

Helping me put together the solar panel

 

And I particularly love this one!

By the end of the trip they were flocking to me!

And then there were these most adorable little twins with strawberry blonde hair.  I was so shy around them but by the end I snatched one up because he was too adorable not to have a picture with.

I’d just met the hubs a few weeks prior to leaving on that trip and when I think back to that time, the feeling I get in my stomach is synonymous to the feeling I remember having when I first met him.  It wasn’t quite love at first sight, but after our first couple conversations I had the distinct feeling that this man would change my life.

One of the last days on the trip we had a couple hours free in town and I wanted to send him an email to let him know I was thinking about him.  I asked our translator how to say “I miss you”.  Well, somewhere along the way I messed it all up and I proudly signed the letter “Te extracto mucho” which, all Spanish speakers already know, is definitely not how you say I miss you.  Its been our little inside joke ever since.

Anyway, that feeling that I get in my stomach, those butterflies of a new love, a new approach to life, and the feeling that you can go out there and change the world, all wrap up as one for me.  I’ve decided its the feeling of hope.  Before we got to the village, we thought we were going to change the world.  And we’d do it starting with this one community.   A few tests later and we realized how contaminated their well water was.  Bacteria and nitrates, it was no mystery why the rates of disease were so high.  We sat around contemplating what would be our next project.  A health center, a better school, clean water.  They needed it all.  How could we change the world if we couldn’t fix the problems in one village?

But we had to start somewhere.  We could give them a bit of electricity.  And the next time, a clean water source.  Although the basic civil infrastructure was what was lacking, engineered solutions could only skim the surface of what was really a political and sociological problem.  We worried if what we offered would have longevity.  Electric generators were common in the town and they powered tiny TVs and radios.  They could have easily used our solar panel for the same after we left.  Would our water system made out of PVC last or would they get tired of walking all the water to the town center to get clean water and just go back to using their contaminated well water?

Towards the end of the trip, it really hit us that all we had to offer was the idea that there was someone out there who was willing to help.  A hope of something that was greater than themselves.  Of course we could help provide limited tangible assistance as well, but we were unconvinced that that was the most valuable thing we offered.  Its frustrating, seeing a situation that you can’t change even if you really, really want to.

Of course the big surprise was that they offered us hope as well and planted the idea that we worried about all the wrong things.  How could they seem so happy, didn’t they know they had nothing?  Where were our children, our families? the younger women wanted to know, as they were our age and already had little packs of children running around their ankles.  A party they threw for us actually turned out to be a lengthy, fiery sermon about Jesus.  Too bad it was lost on us as only a few of us understood Spanish.  But the music and dancing later was universally understood as a celebration.

Soon after I returned from that trip I decided to go to grad school and study drinking water treatment.  With more education maybe I could help people on a larger scale.  Soon after that trip I also started attending Mass, which led to the start of my faith journey.  And soon after that trip I followed that butterfly feeling and started dating my now-husband.

My life really did change directions from that exchange of hope.

I wonder how anyone’s life in that village changed.

Día de Gracias – en Mexico

I told my husband a few weeks ago that the first time we don’t spend a major (read, Thanksgiving or Christmas) holiday with our families, we’ll be officially “adults”.  I guess we’re adults now, since we spent this Thanksgiving here in Mexico celebrating with our new ex-pat friends.  Some things that made this experience unique:

– Dinner at 7:00pm because most people had to work.  Its hard to digest all that food when you eat it so late!

– Yeast, or levadura as I luckily looked up before I set out on my grocery trip, is not sold in all grocery stores.  Fortunately, I eventually found some and was able to bring homemade rolls to dinner which were heartily appreciated.

– Cheddar cheese is also not sold in Mexico…except at Walmart!  Props to my husband for stopping there to complete our cheesy mashed potatoes.

– Made mashed potatoes and rolls without a mixer.  “Like a pilgrim” my mom said!

– Walking 15 blocks carrying potatoes and rolls is fun stuff.

– No TV with no football showing.

– Conversation with these ex-pats is really interesting but hard to come by sometimes. How do you follow up after someone says “I’m not really a heterosexual”…?  There was also the famous “Good thing I don’t believe in the free market!”

– Tried to convince a French girl that even though it may seem like Thanksgiving is just about pigging out and watching football, there really is more to it than that.

Thanking God for everything.  Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Missionary ideas

While taking our Spanish class almost two months ago now, we were fortunate enough to have a week overlap with Eric, part of an amazing couple (with Sarita) who has followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit to come to Mexico on a mission trip.  He was the student that was quick to catch on to the “When God gives us children” reference :)  The best part?  They’re Catholic!

[I actually had seen them at Mass the day we took these pictures, the Sunday before we started our classes and thought they looked like missionaries, but that wasn’t confirmed until the next day.  Small town!]

Anyway, the Baquets are a very sweet couple on an amazing journey right now with their beautiful (understatement) little boy.  They have their work cut out for them as the state of Catholicism and catechesis in parts of Mexico is well, interesting at best, so please keep them in your prayers!  Right now they are working in a rancho where most of the people have converted to Jehovah’s Witness.  We need more people like them willing to teach and serve where called.  We hope to make it up to visit them at some point in our journey here so please pray for that plan to be revealed as well.  They have definitely planted/watered seeds in our minds and it was inspiring to meet a couple so dedicated to following God’s plan for their life.

We know there was a reason we met them.  Please go on over to their blog and give them some encouragement if you feel like it :)

 

PS:  In this video, there is adorable baby footage of their baby and the grand-baby of the couple we were living with in Cuernavaca.  You have been warned :)

Churches older than my country

After we decided to come to Mexico, I wondered what shape my blog would take.  Just like last year when I had no idea I’d be writing about baby-making issues, a few months ago I had no idea I’d be writing about Mexico.  I don’t want to write about it too much, as I don’t want to resemble that aunt who just wants to show you pictures from her vacation that you really don’t care about, but because this is and always has been a blog influenced by things Catholic (Heavens, no!) I do want to share some pictures of some beautiful churches we’ve seen so far.

And we’ve only been here a week!

Folks, this is the oldest church in the Americas!

The updated chapel that is still in use (right next door)

Inside of that newer chapel

Guy ringing the bell

Chapel with a way cool wall around it.

Another view of the "cool wall" chapel

More of the cool wall

Outdoor chapel

Ok, that’s about all for now!