Sunday, May 31, 2015

Moving Affects Us All in Strange Ways

It's so much fun, isn't it?!  It doesn't matter if you are moving next door, across states or across international borders.  There is always an endless list of things to do.  And when you think you've gone through every single drawer in your house, you still manage to find more stuff.  I am ready to become a minimalist.  I've already sold every single one of our beds and both sofas and most of our furniture!  I guess I'm off to a good start!  Now I just have to figure out what I am going to put all of our stuff into!!!  So, I've been a little nutty trying to declutter our lives.  Apparently it's taken its toll on the kids in other ways. 
Some change character...
Some declare war...

Others just collapse and decide that getting up is way overrated.

Moving day arrived.  Joe took the kids to school while I waited for the movers to get to the house, and then he went straight into the office to figure out a minor detail that had been overlooked by the company.  Our visas and RUT cards had expired, so when we were planning on returning from Peru at the end of June to pick up the rest of our suitcases and fly out to the USA, Chile would refuse to let us leave the country.  

Slight problem that added to a whopping amount of stress already on our plates.  Joe extended his time in Chile for another day and a half (yay!) because we were going to have to go through all sorts of bells and whistles to get this taken care of in a timely manner.  

And the process began.  Jake benefited from my cleaning out the kitchen cupboards and opened up our last can of root beer that I had been saving for a pizza night (you can only find it down here once in a blue moon).  
Boxes were now being turned into tables and chairs...

And things were being loaded up into the truck.  
This was really happening.  Wednesday, all day, we spent with the PDI of Chile to get our documents in order for the renewal of all of our paperwork.  It was a true miracle that it all worked out.  Joe was able to leave when he needed to.
Thankfully, we were able to fit in a late lunch in Bellavista at Uncle Fletch's and a walk around the Patio before we sadly said goodbye again to him and finished the rest of the week with the movers.

When the last boxes were packed and the trash was all thrown away, we gathered round to say goodbye to Sandra.  She started out helping us 2 days a week when we first moved to Chile and for the last 1 1/2 she has lived with us.  I never imagined I would let anyone stay in my home with me.  But circumstances are different in a different country, and sometimes you realize by adapting, it makes the process a little smoother.  We thought we were having a baby and I was on bed rest.  Joe was traveling a lot.  Sandra was looking for a new place to live.  And heaven knows that nothing gets done rapidly in Chile.  If a maestro comes to fix something at your house and you aren't there, it could be another 6 weeks before he returns again.  So, Sandra asked and we considered and then accepted the idea.  It truly has been a blessing in many ways.  

I won't lie, I feel a slight sense of relief thinking I can walk around in my underwear again.  But she has become part of our family and it was really strange thinking that this was it.  I will miss her for many, many reasons.  Thank you, Sandra, for all of your help, for your spanish lessons, for your patience and creativity with "projects," with the love you shared with our kids and for making our time in Chile a slightly easier one because we had you to guide and direct us when we needed it.  We will miss you dearly! 
And with that, the sun set, and we said goodbye to 1784 Felipe Cubillos Sigall #46, Lo Barnechea.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Despedida del Barrio de La Dehesa

How sweet are these women?!!!  They wanted to throw a goodbye party for our family, and so  they planned to have us come to church the day after Joe returned so they could shower us with love, gifts and a book full of well wishes from families in the ward.  I was in tears almost the moment I walked through the doors!

 Our family is all here, I promise.  Joe's behind the camera and the kids are having a blast running around with their friends.

 These are some INCREDIBLE hermanas.  Yes, this ward has some very difficult challenges.  But when I see these faces, love fills my heart.  These women are strong, and faithful, and love the Lord.  They want to do what's right even if circumstances make it tough to do so.  
 I'm grateful for these friendships and pray that when I see them again one day, our hearts will still be bonded in Christ.  
 Luke and his all time favorite nursery teacher, Inez Munoz.  She is THE CUTEST lady and even despite have a husband with Alzheimers and a bad hip making it tough for her to walk, she was there every single Sunday with a lesson planned for the nursery children.  Often times it was just Luke who showed up, but she made sure she was there and even practiced some English words so they could communicate better.  What an ANGEL she has been in our lives.  

 Hanging out, playing a little soccer in the Primary corridor.  How cute are they?  I love these boys.  
Luke, Lucas, Liam and Ian.

 My dear friend, Joana Mena.  This is one incredible woman and I love her so much.  I noticed her first when I volunteered to do singing time in Primary when we first moved here.  She came every single Sunday with her daughter, Constanza, and sat in the back and never said a word.  She always stayed in Primary.  Never left to go to Sunday School or Relief Society.  I think this had been going on for months.  I had only spoken briefly to her every Sunday as time would allow, but I didn't know her very well, and I was still trying to understand the language, so I was limited.  When I got called to Primary President, I just knew I needed her in my presidency.  So she was called as secretary, and she accepted... then as my counselor...and I have been blown away at what this woman can do.  She is a powerhouse.  She gets it.  She's not afraid and runs away when no teachers show up, half the presidency is out on vacation or sick and we don't have anyone to do singing time.  She just says, "Don't worry!  We'll figure it out and I'll do it."  And she does.  She started taking English lessons so she could better understand the English half of our Primary.  She is a single mom of three beautiful girls and she supports not only them, but her entire extended family.  She is an inspiration to me and I feel so blessed to call her friend.  I'm going to miss her very much.  
 Oh.... Pauli, Lorena, Valy and Tiffany.  
I just have made some AMAZING friends.  I feel so blessed.  
 We thought we'd capture what was going on while the adults were all in the cultural hall talking and eating and shedding tears.  Nice.
 Eli, Kate and Macey.  
I'm so grateful Kate has had such good girlfriends at church.  Even though she is younger than both of these girls, she's taller as well, so it seems as though everything evens out a bit and age doesn't really matter.  
 Our chapel

 The room that I have spent practically every single Sunday in, my entire time in Chile.
 The kitchen across from the Primary room that usually smelled pretty gross.
 Saying goodbye to the Primary Corridor :)
Yep... just because.  I'll be happy to say goodbye to the bathrooms and the "nonexistent drinking fountains" in the building.  That's for sure.

And one last picture.  I don't know how many times we told the kids to leave the nursery tables alone.  They have busted one too many by thinking they make the PERFECT slides.  Yes, and the night of our party... there it was again.  Had to capture it.  
What an evening!  It was so nice and we felt overwhelmed with love from our ward family.  THANK YOU Tiffany and Valy for planning such a nice event.  We are so grateful for you and will miss you so very much.

And Then Joe Came Back!!!!!

Even if only for a few days...
And all was RIGHT in the world.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Moments in May

In addition to getting ready for our upcoming move, we still have some other excitement!

Boys + Chuck E Cheese + Tokens + Matthew Prices' Birthday + Pizza + Soda = 
An awesome afternoon!

Luke's latest masterpiece.  He calls it:  "Mom."
Definitely fridge worthy.

2 days before Mothers Day, the guard called on the phone and said someone was coming up to our house.  Half the time he speaks so fast and jumbled I can't tell who it is anyway, so I always just tell him "Si, por favor" to let the person in.  I figured it was another person coming to pick up something that I had sold.  When I opened the door, there was this cute little woman holding a HUGE bouquet of flowers for me.  Joe sending his love because he couldn't be with me in person.  My heart just swelled and my step a little lighter because somehow he figured out a way to have flowers sent to me even though he was thousands of miles away.  Thanks, Love!  You don't know how much I needed this and how much it meant to me.  
Sometimes I am REALLY impatient at bedtime. I know how early we have to get up and I know what I have to deal with if people don't get the sleep their bodies need!   I always seem to start off sweet and decent, but then the loves and snuggles turn into frustrated and short ‪"goodnights‬" because people are stalling... Etc... Tonight was NOT one of those nights. This one wanted some girl time to talk. The lights were off and she was all tucked in bed and then she told me all about the excitement of 4th grade happenings today. Then she said, "You know, mom, because you are like my BFF, wouldn't it be fun to have a slumber party together?" Oh I tried to supress my laughter at the BFF  valley girl statement,  but my heart soared for this daughter of mine. I'm so blessed.  Slumber party here we come!

Has anyone seen Luke?!  Favorite hiding spot. 

Luke and I were in the library checking out books when I looked up and actually read the sign right in front of me.  Then I noticed, Jake's book review was right next to it!  How cute is that?!!!

With most of our toys either sold, donated, or packed away, the kids have done any amazing job using their creative juices (when they aren't sitting in front of the TV--because it seems like they do a lot of that right now while I'm trying to organize all of our different moving piles.)  I came around the corner to find these two outside on homemade recliners, shooting the breeze, eating Smarties.  I think they had filled that little pink bucket up and initially were going to start up a candy store of some sort and then ended up like this.  I ADORE these moments.  
While the boys were outside conversing, Kate decided she would help me go through my bathroom stuff and organize it.  She got everything out and started the job, only to be distracted by something like homework, if you can believe it, and left this lovely mess all over the floor.  Good intentions.  Really good intentions.  Just one more thing I needed to clean up.  I really detest moving.  No bathroom products are allowed on the air or the boat shipments.  So I needed to go through it all and decide truly what I needed to keep and what I should chuck.  Because whatever I wanted to keep would be coming home with us on the airplane.  
Meanwhile, Joe made it home and was hanging out with the fam.  We were all slightly jealous.

Luke and friends and Goldfish.  How adorable is this?!!  Yes, he is in his jammies, hidden by a big coat.  He wanted to stay cozy today and requested to not change.  I was good with that.  I know how it feels.  
I came out of the kitchen to tell the kids dinner was ready, and found this.  Jake was at his floor art again.  This time, making Joe out of different materials.  He is one creative genius who really adores his dad. 
Jake and Dad.  
Joe, know that you are REALLLY missed.  This whole 2 month thing is tough.
Luke and his hot wheels!!!!  He rides his bike EVERY SINGLE DAY.  And his favorite part is cruising down the hill in our condo, going as fast as he can as he maneuvers his way around the blockades.  He screams with glee the entire way down.  Going so fast that feet have to be off of the pedals.  I love his face as he tears passed me!  

Gringa night out!  Except that it wasn't our normal night out.  It was a little farewell party for me.  Are we really leaving?!!!  SO very sweet.  How I will miss these women when I'm gone.  It doesn't seem real to me at all.  At least not yet.  Thank you, ladies for your constant support and friendship.  Chile would have been quite a bit lonelier without you.  

And so, I sit and organize all of the house keys because I don't have anything else to do!  hahaha!  Yes, Chileans like keys.  There is one for every single door inside and outside of the house.  And then copies of those keys.  Let it be known that the gardener has had to wait about 15 minutes at times while I search for the right key to open up the side gate.  It's a miracle we didn't lose one.  I won't miss all of these keys.  That's for sure!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Grandma Showed Up at Taekwondo

I walked into Taekwondo with the kids last week and noticed that Melissa wasn't sitting in her usual spot watching her children on the other side of the glass.  This was the 2nd week in a row.  Instead, an older woman sat very still, and just gazed into the window, but I could tell she wasn't really paying attention to what was going on.  
I got the kids settled and Luke ran into class.  I sat for a moment watching her and then I made the assumption that this was grandma.  
I lightly touched her shoulder and mentioned that we missed seeing Melissa here and was everything alright? 
The next thing I knew, through broken sobs, Melissa's mom cried out, "She's dying,  My only daughter is dying."  I couldn't help it.  I didn't know this woman. Chileans in general are very closed to strangers.  But I gave her a big hug and cried right along with her.  As we sat and watched our littles kick and and punch and laugh and jump, she began to tell me that everything was going along just fine.  
Melissa went in for her routine chemo right after class two weeks before and suddenly her liver began to fail.  They tried all sorts of bells and whistles and nothing seemed to be helping.  As of today, the doctors gave her only days to live.  Her mother talked and talked.  Telling me that Melissa's husband could eventually remarry but she will never get another daughter.  She cried and as she looked at the children.  Melissa had endured cancer during her entire pregnancy with her daughter and for the 5 years following. Those sweet kids.  "And why not take me instead?  I've lived my life!  She has these sweet babies to raise."

We talked a little bit more and then she decided to put her sunglasses back on so no one would notice the smeared makeup.  I wish I had had some of my own.  I just kept thinking back to that moment when Melissa happily told Kate to bring the crocheting materials to class and she would teach her while Kate waited for her class to start.  I was so impressed with the feeling of calm I had when I was in the room with her.  That day and every Monday, Wednesday, Saturday that she was there.  

I cried to Joe that night as I told him on the phone.  Why do terribly sad, horrible things happen to the "wrong" people?  I don't have that answer.  What I do know, is that we have a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior who can see the whole picture and their hearts ache just like the rest of ours--probably even more-so.  I don't believe they give people people cancer so they are taken away from their families too soon.  I don't believe they cause car accidents to happen.  I believe that God created the heavens and the earth.  I believe that He created each and every one of us and somehow He knows each and every one of us by name.  And He loves us more than we can possibly imagine.  He sent us to this earth and gave us our agency to learn and grow and make mistakes.  He doesn't micromanage our existence.  I believe 100% in miracles.  I've had them.  But I also  believe that things happen.  Sometimes really awful things.  And that can be because of peoples own choices or because of accidents or because of a number of different circumstances.  I believe that God has the power to do whatever He wants.  He could fix every single problem with the snap of his fingers.  But sometimes what's best isn't always what we think is best.  And it's during those gut wrenching, painful, difficult to even breath moments, when we have to remember that we have not been left alone.  Not at all.  It's during those times that we are being carried.  

I pray this family feels it.  I wanted so much to give this woman just a drop of peace and knowledge that they were being cradled in the arms of a loving Heavenly Father who would give them the strength they needed to continue on.  That these children would be watched over and blessed.  Melissa slipped away 3 days ago.  

It still makes me cry.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Baby Blue

I miss this baby and wish I were raising him on earth.  It makes me smile when I hear the kids still mention him occasionally in casual conversation.  Jake will still make little gifts for him and always seems to remember him at odd times.  I love that.  They are bonded together and will one day be together again.  That, I have no doubt.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Chicureo Get Away

We ran home and changed and grabbed a few things and then headed off to Chicureo to meet up at the Hiten residence. 
What a beautiful home and what beautiful hospitality!  

Amazing to me that Connie and I met briefly last year at Nido, and then back in March when we started up with Taekwondo, we became fast friends.  It doesn't feel like it was just 3 months ago!!!  I am grateful for this South African woman who is so willing to serve and support and share her positive, happy self with so many.  She knew I'd be solo on Mother's Day weekend, and what does she do?  She and Charles cooked for US.  When we arrived, she told the kids they were to ask her for anything they needed.  "Mom was off duty."  How sweet is that?!!!  It truly was a lovely afternoon.  We stayed way longer than I thought we would.  They live on the other side of the mountain and even though it is only a 15 minute drive, it feels like you have traveled to a peaceful sanctuary for a little vacation.  I needed that.  It was perfect.  THANK YOU so much, Connie, Charles and Cailiegh for allowing us to spend our Saturday with you.  We loved it and everyone drove back home happy and tired.  It was perfect.  And P.S.--I still want your Milk Tart recipe ;)