Sunday, September 13, 2015

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Terry! 

I realized while writing this post that I really only take pictures of you by accident, when you're in the same frame with one of the kids... but at least I found these two! 

In celebration of this milestone, I found this collection of photos of things that happened the year you were born - Enjoy!

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Bug's Birthday

This morning Bug was remembering his birthday a few months ago, which we celebrated "in that place where your mom lives" (as he remembers it), "and all my friend came and I gave them numbers." (One of the games was a raffle).  I realized I never put up photos of the actual party, so here they are! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sunday Afternoon

We had a great afternoon yesterday, I was sorry I didn't take the camera along. The kids and I went to the library near Simon Bolivar park, it's a beautiful building with even more beautiful grounds and they love to play outside. It was raining, though, and loads of people took refuge with us indoors, running in with kites held over their heads for umbrellas (August is kite-flying month in Bogotá).

The children's area is equipped with soft sofas and papier-mâché sculptures (trees, knights in armor, etc.) and loads of books. After reading some fun books in Spanish we found a Calvin and Hobbes in English and spent nearly an hour in Calvin's world of imagination.

The rain had stopped, so we bought some snacks to eat outside while watching the fish in the fountain. We ran into a boy from Valerie's school, and his mom! Things like that make a hugantic city seem a little friendlier. Then the kids ran around stomping in puddles and rolling down the wet grassy hills until almost 5:00.

When we got home, Terry had cleaned the whole house and was starting to cook supper. Perfect.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Things have been quiet at work, and I've been catching up on some reading - news, mostly, about the ongoing peace talks. I often forget that this country is at war with itself even though our work deals directly with the fallout from that war. I've heard Bogotá described as a "bubble," where it's fairly easy to avoid awareness or consciousness of the conflicts over land and the long legacy of violence that plagues the country. And yet we are surrounded by human misery. My children are keenly aware that there are many people in this city who have no place to sleep but the streets. We walk past them every day. We go to school, to work, to church, we have our routines, our Legos, our date nights. We live here. And I'm still trying to figure out what that means.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The fifth year

In honor of Gabe's birthday, here is a retrospective of his fifth year of life - 12 of my favorite photos from the past 12 months.

At a retreat center in Sogamoso

Not sure what the persona was here but just too cute!

Demonstrating a machine that makes hearts and love for the world

Alter ego!

Sweet and affectionate boy!

Loved the snow! in Harrisonburg, VA

A craft project from school - recycling!

Favorite Christmas present!

at the Children's Museum in Harrisonburg

I'm so happy I don't have to wrestle him into seat belts anymore, he does it himself!

Very interested in learning letters and reading

Pirate captain!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Well! I ended up unplugging for much more than a week - more like a month! It was fantastic. And hard to get back into the swing of regular e-mail reading etc. But we're back at the office now, although it's been quite quiet since a lot of people are at MWC Assembly at the moment.

I'll be back over the next half of the month to post more about the delegation that came, our trip to Peru, Gabriel's fifth birthday, and more - meanwhile here are some "sneak peek" photos of all of the above.
10-year anniversary of Sembrandopaz in Sincelejo, Colombia

The community of Pichilín shares their hopes and dreams for sustainable life while remembering lives lost in a massacre ten years ago.

Feria de Huancaro in Cusco, Peru! My sister and nieces in background

Gabriel's fifth birthday and first piñata!

One of our favorite spots - the stone slides at Sacsahuayman above Cusco

Cousin time!

At a retreat center in Bochica, Colombia

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Out of Office

I'm off to the Coast with a group from Lombard Mennonite Church, so will be a bit unplugged for the next 7-10 days or so. Be assured that I will be busy, sweating, and slathered with mosquito repellent and sunblock. I'm sad to be leaving the kids again so soon, but I don't have another trip without them until September!

Friday, June 05, 2015


Besides defending my dissertation and getting the kids' visas renewed, while we were in the US I also got a new driver's license. It was crazy! My old license had expired while we were here in Colombia, but because I was turning 40 I needed an eye exam at the DMV. Well, I figured out much later that I could have had an eye exam here and had it validated somehow, but I thought I had to actually go to the DMV, which is why I couldn't just renew it online. 

So I had to take both the road and written tests again. It was me and a bunch of tiny little nervous teenagers. The written test was nerve-wracking - I had to review a lot and take practice tests online but some of the questions were really hard! Some sounded like trick questions and I would overthink them. Some things I just didn't know. But my muscle memory for actually operating a motor vehicle was fine, so the road test was super easy.

Here are a few random photos of the kids playing at the Children's Museum, but it kind of went with the car/driving theme :-)

Monday, June 01, 2015


These photos are from about a year ago, in a lovely retreat center called Finca San Pedro (just to be clear, nobody was forced to do yoga against their will). It was high and cold and I had to up my blood pressure meds. The greater part of the group hiked up to a páramo, and Andean tundra, but the kids and I and two other stayed back for a relaxing time exploring the city. 

Part of our team at the time

We are currently planning our July retreat for this year, which made me reminisce about these photos that I never shared last year (my current blog renaissance is holding up fairly well for the moment...!)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Birthday photo

Since I finally uploaded these photos off my camera, here's a picture of Valerie's birthday! We kept the same motif of happy face balloons and candles. Poor Gabriel was feeling so sick still. The big gift was the Lego set you can see on the floor. We also had fruit kebabs and lots of snacks.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


This is a totally self-indulgent post (but then, aren't they all?)
I just got back from a week in the US to celebrate my PhD graduation!

It finally feels real... 

9 years, 3 continents, 2 babies, 1 degree.

Looking back, it seems like a crazy thing to have undertaken. But when I look at each separate decision along the way, I'm not sure I would have chosen differently at any of those points. I do think, though, I was very naive going into the writing stage as to what that would take to finish. 

This looks like individual achievement, but it depended on support from so many people in absolutely critical ways. My parents, my in-laws, Terry, Rosanne... friends in the department, Shpresa.

My grandparents got married in this very room! 

(Most of the photos above are from the commencement ceremony on Sunday the 24th; the last one is from the Anthropology department reception recognition ceremony.)

Finished. Finally.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Some Words

I tend to build posts around photos, which makes the "photos" label a little redundant, but since my camera cable is at the office and I'm at home, I'll just write a bit instead today.

We're having a quiet holiday at home; it's Ascension Day (39 days after Easter) and a national holiday in this most Catholic of countries. For those keeping track, Colombia has 18 national holidays a year, and often they are observed on a Monday or Friday - called "puentes," or bridges - in order to create long weekends. I think there are only one or two months in the year that have no holidays, and June has three. (Terry complains about this all the time because he finds the office more restful than being at home. And we never go places because traffic is about 3x worse than normal on holiday weekends, and normal here is pretty obnoxious.)

Anyway, it's been really nice to have this day off because I was sick as a dog yesterday, and Gabriel was recovering from a 5-day bout with some stomach bug. I was glad to have only one day of it and I feel pretty much back to normal today, a little light-headed but basically fine. Poor G. was in bad shape though - stomach cramps, throwing up, diarrhea... glad he's back to normal too.

Friday we celebrated Valerie's birthday with a few friends, although three of the four kids we invited weren't able to come so it was a small group. But we had balloons and presents and cake and pizza and she was happy. She's thrilled to be seven now and Gabe is just counting the days until his birthday.

Wednesday I'm going to the States for my PhD graduation, just a quick there-and-back-again trip. It feels like a real celebration and I'm very happy to be able to go!