Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I'm slightly obsessive about checking my memories on facebook, using the new(ish) feature on the site that shows you everything you've ever posted in previous years on that particular calendar date. It's a bittersweet thing in a way, as I've relived the births of the kids, our move to Albania, events like Days of Prayer and Action in Colombia. Recently I was reminded that last year at this time I was graduating from my PhD program at Cornell. Of course there are a lot of things that never made it to facebook status, and even more that never made it into this blog. But I'm glad I blogged about that day.


p.s. Thankfully the kids are better since this weekend! Today they had a field trip to a farm outside the city, and are now vegging out so tired, happy from a terrific day.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Random Thoughts

This sick, whatever it is, is unrelenting. After 50+ hours of being fine, Gabe threw up last night - again - with explosive diarrhea. The kids had no school yesterday so I could have taken him to the doctor them, but he was fine then. Val seems to be ok though. Tomorrow is Saturday. I had thought to do something fun with them tomorrow but may spend the day instead collecting stool samples.


As we approach our last circle around the sun in this city, I'm starting to think about how to leave well. One thing I don't know how to do is leave our pets. The birds might be easier to give away, but the guinea pigs are a little dearer to Valerie's heart. We don't play with them very much but she worries about them when we travel. She still hasn't keyed into the idea that we will have to leave them here though. I imagine we might give them away to someone who lives in the country. Actually the directors of their school might be interested as they have a country home just outside the city where they spend every weekend, and where the kids go on field trips to plant corn and trees. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.


Yesterday I had a little time to play with this app called Dreamscope where you can modify your own photos in fun ways. Here's a few I made:

How to be artsy in 15 minutes or less...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


I just realized two things: First of all, I just marked ten years of blogging. Second, Tara started this blog for me on May 15, 2006... two years to the day before Valerie was born.

Just letting that sink in for a minute....

My blog shares a birthday with my daughter, and that was totally not on purpose.

House of Sick

I haven't been posting much because since last weekend either Gabe or Valerie or both has/have been sick. Seems like a virus kind of thing has been going around, causing tummy troubles; Gabe started out with stomach cramps last Friday evening (just as we were on our way out the door to a weekend workshop outside of town). He ended up missing several days of school last week, and now it is V's turn. Terry has been traveling, and in the midst of all of this we celebrated V's birthday with the requisite cake(s) which I'm sure didn't help matters much. Last night we finally managed to all sleep soundly and well all through the night, without anyone throwing up or having explosive bowel movements in the middle of the night (always preceded by groaning and tossing and turning for an hour or more...) So I'm pretty tired. Fortunately work hasn't been too much, although we did have five interns arrive (on four different days), and then two of them got sick as well.

It's all part of life. I'm really thankful for the many helpful people around me, especially on our team. It makes all the difference in the world.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Year in the Life of Valerie

Soon after turning 7...
Cousin time! (July)

Tipón, Perú (July)
Halloween costume! (October)
With crochet chain she made (August?)
Twirl Girl!
School assignment
Nuevo Colon, Boyacá (October)
End of school year, Bogotá (December)

Dajti (January)
With friends in Tirana (January)
Cusco (Tambomachay)
With Grandma in Peru (January)
First day of school (February)
Happy 8th Birthday Valerie!

Friday, May 06, 2016


I had meant to schedule my Mother's Day post for this coming Sunday, I don't really know why it popped up 2 weeks early. But anyway! We're going to be away this weekend and I wanted to put something up before we leave town.

Lately it's been super awesome. I've heard this age range referred to as "the golden years," and I think it's true. Valerie has this habit of, out of the blue saying "Mom! (pause) I love you." It's the sweetest thing. It's amazing watching how fast they learn, listening to them play together (such imaginations!), making each other laugh. The best parts of my day now are morning and evening at home with them.

Yes they still fight, and act selfish and demanding. But they are also so much more able to be aware of themselves and practice self-control. They are pretty amazing, and I feel really lucky to be their mom.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

ñame - sounds like yummy!

Well, this just made my day!

One of the great things about being back in MCC in Latin America has been seeing our old friends Patrocinio and Crecencia again. They were on our MCC team in Bolivia in the '90s, when Terry and I first met - and so did they - they became a couple about a year or so before we did :-). Now they have two smart and terrific kids, and so do we!

Since we've been living in Colombia, Patro has visited twice to help us out with some agricultural project evaluations. He's a born farmer, and just a super capable person in general. One thing he took back to Bolivia with him was a small piece of ñame, a root vegetable (discorea alata) popular among small-scale farmers here, especially in the coastal areas. He just sent us a picture of his first harvest!

This is a terrible picture but it's the only one I have of myself with the family when I visited Bolivia last September. 

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Knitting News

I just finished this cowl! I had exactly one skein of this yarn, and I have a book called One-Skein Wonders, so although I didn't use a pattern from the book I did get some ideas/inspiration. It's a basic K1P1 rib, with a garter stitch edge. I'm kind of into wearing purple and red together these days - and I'm wearing earrings again after about a decade of not being able to for some reason (really irritated my piercings, but fine now... go figure).

April has been a wonderfully rainy month after months of drought, and it's been cooler too. Hence, wearing more hand-knits.

Today I'm wearing these socks:


This morning one of Gabriel's toys went down the toilet. It was this horrifying moment, I saw it fall in just as he pushed the button to flush and said "oh no!" His immediate reaction was to reassure me: "It's ok, Mom, it's ok!" but it wasn't ok, and I watched his face crumple as he started to cry.

Oh, it was heartbreaking! I cuddled him on my lap while he cried and we talked about the possibilities for replacing it (it was a small Robin figure). "Can Aunt Rosanne buy one and bring it to me?" he asked. Um... no. But I can order it on Amazon and see if someone coming soon can bring it with them.

"God knew this morning that this was going to happen before it happened. The past turns into the president" (sic).

An hour later he was playing happily with other toys with his sister (a drama of adopting orphaned animals), and he didn't talk about it again, in fact he seemed completely fine. But I'm still upset about it... I feel responsible... I want to erase his sadness.

I have to learn that my kids are not as fragile as I think they are, that they are resilient. And I am still learning how to grieve.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Día del Trabajador

This morning a small procession went past our apartment block, celebrating labor day. I assume they were going to connect with a larger group somewhere further along.

Terry and I have both been sick this past week - hence the quiet in this corner. Still not 100% yet.

We're coming into a really busy few months up ahead but I hope to maintain my rhythm here, though it may get a little (more) random! I had a mental break-through last night in my knitting and figured out a strategy to construct a little dress I want to make for our accountant's daughter. I'm really looking forward to using the lovely mottled-lilac yarn I set aside for it.

Meanwhile, in Lego land, we are building the most fantastically amazing castle ever - featuring two waterfalls, rotating surveillance eyeballs, flaming skulls, and more.